What is it?
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the skin, characterized by fibrosis of the skin. In other words, the disease causes hardening, thickening, and scarring of the skin’s connective tissues. Although it’s often localized to specific parts of the body, it can also be widespread, causing systemic issues that affect internal tissues and organs, including the esophagus, blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, heart, and GI tract. Even if scleroderma is restricted to a smaller area of your body and/or doesn’t impact you internally, it can still be troublesome, as the skin on your face, fingers, neck, and feet become swollen, tender, inflamed, and/or hardened as well as experience a decreased range of motion.
What causes it?
Unfortunately, there are no clear causes of this condition, although there is evidence that genetics and the environment contribute substantially to its development.
Due to the complicated nature of scleroderma as well as the uncertainty of what causes it, treatment is customized on a case-by-case basis and may involve various options, as a single medication or treatment may not be completely effective. For example, you may have a mild, localized case that does not require treatment. On the other hand, someone else may have a severe, relentless case that involves multiple options, each addressing a single of the various symptoms that manifest. For the experts at our dermatology center, the ultimate goal is the management of the conditions.
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