What is scleroderma?
Scleroderma means “hard skin”, which is the most visible manifestation of this disease. However, it can also affect the lungs, joints, muscles, blood vessels and digestive system. It is rare, more likely to affect women than men, and usually starts between the ages of 25 and 55.
Symptoms include skin thickening and hardening, Raynaud’s phenomenon, difficulty swallowing and digestive problems, as well as joint pain and stiffness.
How is scleroderma treated?
Treatments very much depend on the symptoms experienced as scleroderma can affect so many body systems. Drug treatments may include steroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or immuno-suppressants. Exercise and good skin care are both important for managing this condition. See the links below for more information.
Where can I find out more about scleroderma?
Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK
- What is scleroderma? – useful information for scleroderma patients and their carers
- Associated conditions – more information about the different conditions linked to scleroderma
- Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma) – extensive scleroderma information page from Arthritis Research UK