Systemic Sclerosis Overview
Another name for Systemic Sclerosis is Scleroderma.
What is scleroderma?
A person with scleroderma has inflammation of the skin that causes it to become firm and thick. Scleroderma results from an abnormal immune system, which normally fights infection. The immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissue, causing inflammation and scarring. Scleroderma also causes inflammation and scarring in other organs in the body, including the heart, joints, kidneys, liver, lungs and intestines. The inflammation can cause the organs to malfunction. Over time, scleroderma causes a progressive decline in mobility and function. About 1 out of every 100,000 people in the US have scleroderma.
What are the symptoms of scleroderma?
Symptoms of scleroderma that affect the skin include prominent blood vessels under the surface of the skin, finger swelling, tight skin over the fingers, shiny skin over the fingers, rash, Raynaud's disease symptoms, and skin ulcers on the fingertips, elbows, ankles, or feet. Additional symptoms of scleroderma include joint pains, joint stiffness, muscle aches, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, dry cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue impotence, and weight loss.
How does the doctor treat scleroderma?
There is no cure for scleroderma. Treatment for scleroderma may include skin moisturizers, avoiding cold environments, physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
Continue to Systemic Sclerosis Incidence
- Bottoni CR, Reinker KA, Gardner RD, Person DA. Scleroderma in childhood: a 35-year history of cases and review of the literature. J Pediatr Orthop. 2000 Jul-Aug;20(4):442-9. 
- Haustein UF. Systemic sclerosis-scleroderma. Dermatol Online J. 2002 Jun;8(1):3. 
- Zulian F. Scleroderma in children. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2005 Apr;52(2):521-45, vii. 
- Zulian F. Systemic manifestations in localized scleroderma. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2004 Dec;6(6):417-24.