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How is CREST syndrome linked to scleroderma?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Limited cutaneous scleroderma is often called CREST syndrome. No, it’s not the tuft of feathers on the top of the head. It actually is a very creative (not!) acronym that includes the first letter of all common symptoms associated with limited cutaneous scleroderma. They include

• Calcinosis, calcium deposits under the skin

• Raynaud’s phenomenon, the discoloration in the fingers in response to the cold or anxiety

• Esophageal motility dysfunction, prevents food from moving into the stomach

• Sclerodactyl, the tightening of the skin on fingers and toes

• Telangiectasia, the swelling of tiny blood vessels in the hands and face that cause red spots.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
CREST syndrome is a type of limited or systemic scleroderma that can affect not only the skin, but internal organs as well.


CREST syndrome, also called limited scleroderma, is a form of scleroderma that is usually less severe than other cases. The letters in its name stand for the symptoms: Calcium deposits, Raynaud's syndrome, Esophageal dysfunction, Sclerodactyly (damage to the skin on fingers), and Telangiectasia (dilation of the blood vessels). Like other types of scleroderma, there is no known cure for CREST syndrome, and treatment options are largely the same.

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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.