Scleroderma is a condition of the skin. It can cause tightening of the skin and thickening of the skin and blood vessels. Damage to internal organs may also be a result of this condition. It typically appears in people between 30 and 50 years of age, striking more women than men. Scleroderma usually takes one of two forms: localized or generalized.
Localized scleroderma is usually limited to affecting only the skin tissues. There are two types within this category: morphea and linear. Morphea scleroderma is characterized by hard oval patches that appear red or purple at first. They then turn whitish in the center. Linear scleroderma appears as lines of thickened skin. It can appear on the face, arms, legs and other body parts.
Generalized scleroderma is not limited to the skin. There are also two variations within this category: limited and diffuse. Limited scleroderma makes a gradual appearance, usually becoming evident on the face, hands and feet. The lungs, esophagus and intestines may also become affected. Diffuse scleroderma moves in faster, typically on the body’s trunk and the thighs and upper arms as well as the extremities. Internal organs like the heart and kidneys are more likely to be affected by diffuse scleroderma.
The cause of scleroderma is not fully understood. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition, where the body’s own defenses mount the attack. Medications can help slow the progression of this disease and control the pain and discomfort.
For more information about the symptoms and treatments for scleroderma, continue reading the full article.