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Thursday, March 13, 2008



This is an autoimmune disease that leads to connective tissues and tightening and hardening of the skin. It starts from the dry patches of skin on the face or hands, to become harder and thicker. Actually, Scleroderma means hardening and thickening of the skin.

It can easily spread to other areas of the skin. In rare cases, it can also affect the internal organs and the blood vessels. This disease is a group of other arthritic diseases which are known as connective tissue disorders. It can mainly found in women than in men. It can also affect the adults than children.


Type of protein, Collagen may help to make up connective tissue in the skin. Scleroderma can develop by accumulation and an excess production of Collagen in body’s connective tissues. Actually, there is no main cause of the disease. The immune system has played major role in abnormal collagen production. There are many types of scleroderma, which can affect all organ and tiny blood vessels.

Classifications of Sclerderma:

Localized Scleroderma:

Localized Scleroderma is the main type of Scleroderma, which are the deep tissues below the skin and limited to the skin. The following are subclassifications of this type:-

Linear scleroderma: the form of localized scleroderma may affect the legs, bands, streaks of hard skin on both sides of arms and forehead.

Morphea: This is the subclassified of localized scleroderma, which can appear on skin in the form of oval-shaped hard patches. These patches are in white in the centre with purple color in the border.

Systemic Scleroderma:

The type of Scleroderma may affect the major organs and the blood vessels, along with skin. It is also known as systemic sclerosis, the following are the subclassifications of systemic scleroderma:-

Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis:

This form may affect the skin of hands, legs, neck, fingers, arms, trunk and face. It is also affected the internal organs such as heart, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and kidneys. It can associate kidney failure and create respiratory diseases.

Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis: This form can affect the skin of lower arms, face, fingers, neck and legs. This is also known as CREST. The full form of CREST is ‘C’ stands for Calcinosis, ‘R’ stands for Raynaud’s phenomenon, ‘E’ stands for Esophageal dysfunction, ‘S’ stands for Sclerodactyly and ‘T’ stands for Telangiectasia.

Signs and symptoms:

Hardness and thickness of skin.

Changes in color of toes, nose, fingers, cheeks and ears.

Pain and numbness in skin

Severe pain in joints

Stiffness in joints

Curling of fingers

Sores over joints like knuckles or elbows

Puffy feet and hands in the morning

Digestive problems


It is very difficult to determine the Scleroderma. It may affect the skin along with the joints; it is similar to other health diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. But to make a diagnosis, blood tests and a sample of tissue may be recommended by the doctor. In some cases, physical examination and medical history will be preferred by the health care provider.


Circulation problems:

Calcium channel blockers: this medication may be prescribed by the doctor to slow heart breath and dilate blood vessels. Medication such as nifedipine is very helpful to promote circulation.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors: Medications such as captoprill may help to relax the blood vessels

Alpha blockers: this includes doxazosin, which may reduce the effects of body chemicals and prevent muscle contractions in arteries.

Skin changes:

Corticosteroid medication and moisturizer will be recommended by the doctor. Patient should apply it on the affected area and leave it for few minutes. Sometimes, minocycline is prescribed by the doctor to control the signs and symptoms of scleroderma.


Patient should avoid smoking.

Patient should protect from the cool temperature.

Patient should avoid meals that give gas or heartburn.

Patient should do exercise daily.

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