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How do localized and systemic scleroderma risk factors differ?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Localized scleroderma affects the skin almost exclusively, and is confined to specific areas of the body. Systemic scleroderma can impact the skin and many other vital organs throughout the body.


Systemic and localized scleroderma share several of the same risk factors, including ethnicity and sex. However, localized scleroderma is more common in younger people, while systemic scleroderma more commonly affects people ages 30 to 50. Within systemic scleroderma conditions, limited scleroderma carries a couple additional risk factors that are different from diffuse systemic scleroderma. Limited scleroderma seems to be more influenced by genetics. Those with a family history of any autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing limited scleroderma. Furthermore, if there is such a genetic predisposition, contact with certain toxins such as polyvinyl chloride, benzene, silica and trichloroethylene may lead to limited scleroderma.

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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.