Scleroderma

Scleroderma

Derived from the Greek words skleros, meaning hard and derma or skin, scleroderma is a chronic auto-immune disease that produces hardening of the skin and other tissue in the body. Approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. live with scleroderma. Usually, scleroderma develops between the ages of 25 to 55 and the disease becomes progressively worse over time.

Causes
When your body produces and accumulates an over abundance of collagen, scleroderma occurs. Doctors are not sure what causes this overproduction, but there appears to be a connection with the body's immune system. Patients can develop localized scleroderma, which only affects the skin or systemic scleroderma, which impacts the skin and other organs, such as the gallbladder, heart, intestine, kidneys and lungs.

Symptoms
The common signs of scleroderma are:

  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • Change in color of the fingers and toes from exposure to heat or cold
  • Hardening of the skin
  • Shiny hands and forearms
  • Small white lumps beneath the skin's surface
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Tight facial skin
  • Ulcerations on the fingers or toes

Treatments
No treatment can cure scleroderma, but medication can help relieve the symptoms, prevent complications and slow down the progression of the disease. Treatment may include:

  • Blood pressure medications to help kidney and lung function
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Surgical intervention

     

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Coast Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center
21550 Angela Lane
Venice, FL 34293

P. 941-493-7400