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How is scleroderma diagnosed?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Diagnosing scleroderma can be difficult and time consuming since there isn’t a single blood test, x-ray, or scan to confirm or deny the diagnosis. That being said, your doctor typically uses a variety of tests after taking a thorough history and performing a physical exam to diagnose scleroderma. These tests include a blood test for certain antibodies that tend to be elevated in people with scleroderma; a biopsy (tissue sample) of affected skin; a skin assessment to look for changes in appearance in texture (like thickened patches), swollen or tight skin, calcium deposits under the skin, and changes in tiny blood vessels around the base of your fingernails.

 

 


Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Diagnosis of scleroderma involves a visual inspection of the skin as a start. From there, a biopsy of specific areas may be conducted. Finally, a blood test to determine levels of various antibodies can be performed. The combination of these tests can usually determine the presence of scleroderma, and also begin to identify the extent of the condition. Seek a physician's assistance for medical concerns.

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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.