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.