In this edition, we discuss Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis – a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and other areas of the body. It may also cause problems in the blood vessels, internal organs, and digestive tract.
Scleroderma results from an overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues. Now collagen is a fibrous protein that makes up your body’s connective tissues, including your skin.
Doctors do not know exactly what causes this process to begin, but the body’s immune system appears to play a role.
Early symptoms may also include swelling and itchiness. Affected skin can become lighter or darker in color and may look shiny because of the tightness.
Some people also experience small red spots on their hands and faces, called telangiectasia.
Scleroderma’s signs and symptoms vary from person to person, depending on which parts of the body are affected.