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How does CREST syndrome differ from other systemic scleroderma?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

CREST syndrome or limited cutaneous scleroderma does not affect major organs (heart, lungs, or kidneys) like other sclerodermas. It also typically involves thickening and hardening of skin only on the hands, arms, and/or face, while other systemic sclerodermas are associated with patches on the legs, chest, and stomach as well as the hands, arms, and face.

 

 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
CREST is a slowly progressing systemic scleroderma, affecting the skin of the legs and face first, then impacting internal organs over time. Other forms of systemic scleroderma can be much more widespread and may progress faster.


CREST syndrome, also known as limited scleroderma, has symptoms that are generally more isolated than in other types of systemic scleroderma. Skin changes and blood vessel constriction is usually limited to hands, lower arms and legs, although it can also appear on the face. Problems with circulation in the lungs and heart can also occur, as can liver failure. Limited systemic scleroderma doesn't usually have the same degree of widespread joint, skin, and organ damage that can result from other systemic scleroderma (hence the "limited" in its name). Even so, CREST syndrome and its symptoms can still be life-altering and, in some cases, life-threatening.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.