Some types of scleroderma affect only the skin, while others affect the whole body.
- Localized scleroderma . Often affects only the skin on the hands and face. It develops slowly, and rarely spreads in the body or causes serious problems.
- Systemic scleroderma, or sclerosis. May affect large areas of skin and organs such as the heart, lungs, or kidneys. There are two main types limited disease (CREST syndrome) and diffuse disease.
The disease most often affects people 30 to 50 years old. Women get scleroderma more often than men do. Some people with scleroderma have a history of being around silica dust and polyvinyl chloride, but most do not.
The cause of scleroderma is unknown. A buildup of a substance called collagen in the skin and other organs leads to the symptoms of the disease.
There is no specific treatment for scleroderma.
Your doctor will prescribe medicines and other treatments to control your symptoms and prevent complications.
In some people, symptoms develop quickly for the first few years and continue to get worse. However, in most people, the disease slowly gets worse.
People who have only skin symptoms have a better outlook. Widespread (systemic) scleroderma can lead to.
- Heart failure
- Scarring of the lungs called pulmonary fibrosis
- High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
- Kidney failure
- Problems absorbing nutrients from food