Scleroderma A type of localized scleroderma known as morphea Specialty Rheumatology Usual onset Middle age  Types Localized, systemic scleroderma  Causes Unknown  Risk factors Family history, certain factors, exposure to genetic silica    Diagnostic method Based on symptoms, , blood tests skin biopsy  Differential diagnosis , Mixed connective tissue disease , systemic lupus erythematosus , polymyositis dermatomyositis  Treatment Supportive care  Medication , Corticosteroids , methotrexate (NSAIDs) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  Prognosis Localized: Normal life expectancy  Systemic: Decreased life expectancy  Frequency 3 per 100,000 per year (systemic)  Scleroderma is a group of that may result in changes to the autoimmune diseases , skin , blood vessels , and muscles . internal organs  The disease can be either localized to the skin or involve other organs in addition to the skin.  Symptoms may include areas of thickened skin, stiffness, feeling tired, and poor blood flow to the fingers or toes with cold exposure.  One form of the condition, known as  , classically results in CREST syndrome , calcium deposits , Raynaud's syndrome problems, esophageal , and thickening of the skin of the fingers and toes . areas of small dilated blood vessels 
The cause is unknown, however, some suspect it may be due to an abnormal
. immune response Risk factors include family history, certain  factors, and exposure to genetic . silica   The underlying mechanism involves the abnormal growth of  which is believed to occur as a result of the body's immune system attacking healthy tissues. connective tissue Diagnosis is typically based on a person's symptoms and may be supported by a  or blood tests. skin biopsy 
While there is no cure, treatments may improve symptoms.
Medications used include  , corticosteroids , and methotrexate (NSAIDs). non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs Outcomes depend on the extent of disease.  Those with localized disease generally have a normal  . life expectancy In those with systemic disease typical life expectancy is about 11 years from onset.  Death is often due to lung, gastrointestinal, or heart complications.  
About 3 out of 100,000 people per year develop the systemic form.
The condition most often begins in middle age.  Women are more often affected than men.  Scleroderma was likely first described in 1753 by Carlo Curzio  and then well documented in 1842.  The term is from the Greek "sklerosis" meaning "hardness" and "derma" meaning "skin".  
Signs and symptoms
Arm of a person with scleroderma showing skin lesions
Potential signs and symptoms include:
(is the presenting symptom in 30% of affected persons, occurs in 95% of affected individuals at some time during their illness); healed pitting Raynaud's phenomenon on the fingertips; skin and mucosal ulcers ; telangiectasis , irregular heart rate and palpitations due to fainting abnormalities, conduction and hypertension . congestive heart failure Digestive:
, bloating, gastroesophageal reflux disease , loss of appetite, indigestion alternating with diarrhoea , constipation and its complications, loosening of teeth and hoarseness (due to acid reflux). sicca syndrome Pulmonary: progressive worsening of shortness of breath, chest pain (due to
) and dry, persistent cough due to pulmonary artery hypertension . interstitial lung disease Musculoskeletal:
, joint , loss of joint range of motion, muscle aches and carpal tunnel syndrome . muscle weakness Genitourinary:
, erectile dysfunction , scleroderma dyspareunia and renal crises . kidney failure Other: facial pain due to , hand trigeminal neuralgia , headache, paresthesias , fatigue, stroke and weight loss. calcinosis