What is scleroderma?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

For all those etymology buffs out there, a little Greek can help you figure out what scleroderma literally means: Sklerosis is the Greek word for hardness and derma is the Greek word for skin -- hard skin. It is classified as a rheumatic autoimmune disease. It occurs when collagen, the main protein component of connective tissue in the skin, blood vessels, joints, muscles, and ligaments (It’s what makes your skin strong and elastic; wrinkles develop when it degrades.) is overproduced. Localized scleroderma only affects the skin, but systemic scleroderma can be life threatening and damages internal organs like your heart, esophagus, lungs, and kidneys, every place you find collagen. Unfortunately ladies, it’s more common in women than men and typically develops in people between the ages of 30 and 50.



Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Scleroderma is an autoimmune rheumatic disease that impacts the skin and connective tissue, resulting, most commonly, in hardening and tightening of the skin in specific areas.

Seek a physician's assistance for medical concerns.

Scleroderma, also called systemic sclerosis, is a chronic, degenerative disease that causes blood vessel abnormalities as well as joint, skin, and internal organ problems. Symptoms include thickening and swelling of the tips of the fingers; Raynaud's disease; joint pain; taut, dark skin on the face; spider veins; scarring of the skin on the fingers, wrists, or elbows causing immobility; and heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

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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.