10 Scleroderma Symptoms

By albert
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Scleroderma or systemic sclerosis is a complex autoimmune disease that results from excessive deposition of collagen and other molecules of connective tissue in the skin and multiple organs. Moreover, other pathologic disease processes include immunologic abnormalities, and alterations in the microvasculature (fibroproliferative). These processes lead to a wide range of clinical manifestations that produce several clinical forms. These range from limited skin involvement to severe organ involvement and diffuse skin sclerosis. However, there can also be rare cases of scleroderma with internal organ involvement in the absence of cutaneous involvement.

Scleroderma has no known specific cause. It is, however, thought to be an autoimmune condition where genetic predisposition plays an important role. Importantly, the risk of scleroderma is higher in women than men (4 to 9 times higher). Because of its complexity, scleroderma symptoms vary from one person to another. It is therefore important that thorough investigation is conducted for proper diagnosis and treatment. Following are some of the more common symptoms of scleroderma:

Symptom #1: Hardening Of The Skin

One of the major symptoms of scleroderma is the thickening and tightening of the skin in the affected areas as a result of deposits of different types of collagen and other molecules. This is often preceded by puffiness or swelling of those areas. These manifestations initially affect the fingers and progress symmetrically towards the trunk. The affected areas can also present with loss of skin creases and hair, decreased sweating, and inability to make a skin fold.

The affected parts become hardened and fixed in a bent position, called flexion contracture. This slows down and constricts movements in the affected joints. The skin also appears to have irregularly shaped patches in areas where it is more tight and thick.


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