Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body, leading to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also referred to as systemic sclerosis, and the cause is unknown. Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual features that are most troubling to the patient. Read more: Scleroderma Article
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Picture of Morphea (Early)
Morphea is localized scleroderma confined to the skin. It most commonly affects the trunk but also occurs on the face and...
Picture of Morphea (Late Stage)
Morphea is localized scleroderma confined to the skin. It most commonly affects the trunk but also occurs on the face and...
Picture of Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. See a picture of the Skin and learn more...
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Diarrhea is a change in the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching including infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking, or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced from acid reflux (GERD). Symptoms of heartburn include chest pain, burning in the throat, difficulty swallowing, the feeling of food sticking in the throat, and a burning feeling in the chest. Causes of heartburn include dietary habits, lifestyle habits, and medical causes. Treatments for heartburn include lifestyle changes, OTC medication,prescription medication, and surgery.
Constipation is defined medically as fewer than three stools per week and severe constipation as less than one stool per week. Constipation usually is caused by the slow movement of stool through the colon. There are many causes of constipation including medications, poor bowel habits, low-fiber diets, laxative abuse, and hormonal disorders, and diseases primarily of other parts of the body that also affect the colon.
Raynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to cold. Occurring as a result of spasms of blood vessels, the cause is unknown. Symptoms and signs of Raynaud's phenomenon depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the blood vessel spasm. Treatments include protection of the digits, medications, and avoiding emotional stresses, smoking, cold temperature, and tools that vibrate the hands.
Fatigue and Exhaustion
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring throughout the lungs. Pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by many conditions including chronic inflammatory processes, infections, environmental agents, exposure to ionizing radiation, chronic conditions, and certain medications. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and diminished exercise tolerance. Treatment options are dependent on the type of pulmonary fibrosis; lung transplant and/or medications are options.
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain medications, or internal factors, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms and signs of dry skin include itching and red, cracked, or flaky skin. The main treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication of the skin.
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) refers to a condition in which abnormally large numbers of bacteria (at least 100,000 bacteria per ml of fluid) are present in the small intestine, but they are more like the bacteria that are found in the colon. There are many conditions associated with SIBO, including: Diabetes Scleroderma Crohn's disease Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) It has been theorized that SIBO may be responsible for the symptoms of at least some patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms of SIBO include: Excess gas Abdominal bloating Abdominal pain Treatment for SIBO can include: Antibiotics Probiotics Low FODMAP Diet
Scleritis is inflammation of the white part of the eye. It may be caused by a serious underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disease. Symptoms include redness, pain, tearing, sensitivity to light, and decreased visual acuity. Treatment may include eyedrops as well as treatment for any underlying disease process. Scleritis cannot be prevented.
Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease involving the abnormal production of extra antibodies that attack the glands and connective tissue. Sjögren's syndrome with gland inflammation (resulting dry eyes and mouth, etc.) that is not associated with another connective tissue disease is referred to as primary Sjögren's syndrome. Sjögren's syndrome that is also associated with a connective tissue disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or scleroderma, is referred to as secondary Sjögren's syndrome. Though there is no cure for Sjögren's syndrome, the symptoms may be treated by using lubricating eye ointments, drinking plenty of water, humidifying the air, and using glycerin swabs. Medications are also available to treat dry eye and dry mouth.
Reflux Laryngitis (Diet, Home Remedies, Medicine)
Reflux laryngitis is caused by acid refluxing back up through the esophagus and voice box. Reflux laryngitis causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, larynx, and throat; and can lead to symptoms, signs, and other problems like esophagitis, sinusitis, strictures, throat clearing, swallowing problems, asthma, chronic cough, and growths on the vocal cords. Typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis include heartburn, hoarseness, or a sensation of a foreign body in the throat. Reflux laryngitis can be treated with diet chanes, OTC medication, prescription medication, and lifestyle changes.
Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis
Polymyositis is a disease of the muscle featuring inflammation of the muscle fibers. It results in weakness of the muscles which can be severe and when associated with skin rash, is referred to as dermatomyositis. Although the cause of this disease is unknown, diagnosis includes physical examination of muscle strength, blood tests for muscle enzymes, electrical tests of muscle and nerves, and conformation by a muscle biopsy. Treatment of polymyositis and dermatomyositis includes high doses of cortisone-related medications, immune suppression, and physical therapy.
Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD)
Connective tissue diseases are disorders featuring abnormalities involving the collagen and elastin. Connective tissue diseases that are strictly inheritable include Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The classic immune-related connective tissue diseases include systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, polymyositis, and dermatomyositis. Treatment is often directed at suppressing the inflammation present in the tissues by using anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications.
Pain that originates in the face is referred to as trigeminal neuralgia. This pain may be caused by: an injury, an infection in the face, a nerve disorder, or it can occur for no known reason. Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with antiseizure medications. Some antidepressant drugs also have significant pain relieving effects.
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Interstitial Lung Disease (Interstitial Pneumonia)
Interstitial lung disease refers to a variety of diseased that thicken the tissue between the lungs' air sacks. Symptoms of interstitial lung disease include shortness of breath, cough, and vascular problems, and their treatment depends on the underlying cause of the tissue thickening. Causes include viruses, bacteria, tobacco smoke, environmental factors, cancer, and heart or kidney failure.
Pulmonary hypertension is elevated pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart. The most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty breathing. If the condition goes undiagnosed, more severe symptoms may occur. As pulmonary hypertension worsens, some people with the condition have difficulty performing any activities that require physical exertion. While there is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, it can be managed and treated with medications and supplemental oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels.
What Is Eosinophilic Fasciitis (Shulman's Syndrome)?
Eosinophilic fasciitis is a skin disease that causes thickening and inflammation of the skin and fascia. Symptoms include redness, warmth, and hardening of the skin, as well as occasional tissue and joint pain. Treatment for eosinophilic fasciitis aims to eliminate inflammation through the use of aspirin, NSAIDs, and cortisone.
What Is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)?
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF is a progressive lung disease. There is no known cause of IPF. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, mild fevers, muscle pain, clubbing fingers, and ankle swelling. Treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is directed at managing symptoms. The life expectancy is about 2 to 5 years.
Local ResourcesFind a local Rheumatologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Nail Separation
- Leg Swelling
- Cold Feet and Toes
- Low Urine Output
- Joint Redness
- Tightness in Chest
- Swollen Ankles and/or Swollen Feet
- Cold Hands
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
- MCTD vs. UCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease vs. Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease)
- Scleroderma - 2001 National Meeting Reports
- Coping with a Bad Disease - Community Counts
- Propulsid - Urgent FDA Warning
- Scleroderma Elbow Tip Pains
- Coping With Chronic Rheumatic Diseases
- Is There a Test for Fibromyalgia?
- How Ofter Does Methotrexate Cure Scleroderma?
- What Is the Relationship Between GERD and Scleroderma?
- Can Raynaud's Disease Be Cured?
- What Is a Scleroderma Sine Scleroderma?
- Does Scleroderma Cause Infertility in Women?
- Scleroderma Symptoms and Signs
- Sjogren's Syndrome Symptoms, Signs, and Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- metronidazole (Flagyl, Flagyl ER) Antibiotic
- prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
- Predinsone Side Effects (Adverse Effects)
- lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil, Qbrelis) ACE Inhibitor
- erythromycin (Ery-Tab, PCE)
- Cipro, Cipro XR (ciprofloxacin) Antibiotic Side Effects
- Trazodone (Desyrel)
- fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Prozac Weekly)
- pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Viagra (sildenafil)
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several oth)
- tadalafil, Cialis, Adcirca
- methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
- cimetidine, Tagamet HB
- nitroglycerin, Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat, Transderm-Nitro, Minitran, Deponit, Nitrol
- omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
- captopril (Capoten)
- esomeprazole (Nexium)
- nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat, Afeditab)
- colchicine (Colcrys)
- tetracycline (Sumycin)
- lansoprazole (Heartburn Relief 24 Hour, Heartburn Treatment 24 Hour, Prevacid 24)
- cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- rabeprazole (Aciphex)
- azathioprine (Azasan)
- thalidomide (Thalomid)
- penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen)
- nicardipine, Cardene, Cardene SR
- Side Effects of Colcrys (colchicine)
Prevention & Wellness
- FDA Approves First Treatment for ILD With Systemic Sclerosis, Scleroderma
- Stem Cell Transplant Shows Promise for Immune Disorder Scleroderma
- Solving the Medical Mystery of Cold Feet
- Scleroderma Complications Worse in Blacks Than Whites: Study
- Researchers Point to Possible Scleroderma-Cancer Link
- Cancer Drug Some Help for Scleroderma
Autoimmune Disease Resources
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