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What is scleroderma?

Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses which occur when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Scleroderma is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body. This leads to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also

referred to as systemic sclerosis.

Scleroderma means "hard skin" and is pronounced skler-o-derma. Scleroderma is a disease that causes fibrosis (hardening) of the skin and sometimes the internal organs. Scleroderma can range from a form localized to the skin to a severe disease the effects the internal organs known as systemic scleroderma.

Localized scleroderma can range from just a few spots on the skin to covering almost the entire skin surface. The skin lesions of localized scleroderma feel firm and hard. The color is ivory to yellowish in color. The skin lesions of localized scleroderma are usually seen on the trunk but can also occur on the face, arms, and legs. Localized scleroderma may last for a few months to many years. The condition is four times more common in women and usually starts between the ages of twenty and fifty.

Scheroderma is an acquired rare disease that occurs worldwide in sporadic and occasionally in familial cases. Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive autoimmune connective tissue disorder in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. It falls into the same category as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren syndrome (dry mucus membranes) and multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a highly individualized disease. Its involvement can vary a great deal in terms of severity. For a few individuals it is merely a nuisance; for others it is a life-threatening illness. For most, it is a disease that affects a person's professional, social, and emotional lives.

More information on scleroderma

What is scleroderma? - Scheroderma is an acquired rare disease that occurs worldwide in sporadic and occasionally in familial cases. Scleroderma is a disease that causes fibrosis (hardening) of the skin.
What are the symptoms of scleroderma? - Scleroderma affects the skin, and in serious, life-threatening cases it affects the blood vessels and internal organs. The most evident symptom is the hardening of the skin.
How is scleroderma classified? - Patients with scleroderma may develop either a localized or a systemic form of the disease. There are two types of generalized scleroderma: limited and diffuse scleroderma.
What causes scleroderma? - Although the exact cause or causes of scleroderma are unknown, a complex interaction between environmental encounters and genetic and non-genetic host factors may lead to scleroderma.
How is scleroderma diagnosed? - The diagnosis of the scleroderma syndrome is based on the finding of the clinical features of the illnesses. The diagnosis of localised types of scleroderma is based on the injuries.
What is the treatment for scleroderma? - Scleroderma has no known cure. Doctors often treat localized scleroderma with therapies such as moisturizers or corticosteroid medications. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005