Scleroderma is classified as a collagen disease and is also known as
systemic sclerosis. Hallmarks of this disease is sclerotherapy tissue and affects different parts of the body, most especially the skin, arteries, lungs, heart, gastrointestinal tract and joints. Scleroderma is a group of autoimmune diseases. Women are affected twice as often than men.
The disease occurs most between the ages of forty and sixty years ago. Symptoms and their severity can vary for individual patients. The most famous symptom is called Raynaud's phenomenon, which may be a long time the only symptom the patient. This phenomenon is a circulatory disease that affects the fingers, hands and feet. These vessels are affected when there is a sudden constriction of small arterioles supplying the blood of his hands and feet cold exposure. The consequence is a reduction or interruption of blood supply and showy pale fingers.
Very common are changes in the skin, especially on the face and fingers, which become bright. Other features are characteristic wrinkling around the mouth. Taut skin makes it difficult to bend joints or mouth opening. As already mentioned, but the disease can affect other parts of the body and cause problems with swallowing, palpitations, increased blood pressure, joint pain and muscle atrophy. Extent of disease and the rate of progress is very different for different patients. Usually progresses fastest in the first years of illness, then slows down or even stop. Unfortunately, in smaller but significant proportion of patients may lead to cardiac, respiratory and renal failure.
To confirm the suspected doctors usually sufficient physical examination and sometimes perform blood tests or biopsies. The prognosis depends on the affection of different organs. Treatment focuses first on skin care for diseases of internal organs is needed overall immunosuppression (suppressing excessive immune response). Doctors then put the elimination of drugs and improvement of individual health problems. Patients may also help physical therapy, which helps to eliminate poor joint mobility.