Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune skin issue, associated with thickening of the skin epidermis along with other connective tissues. Although the condition severely affects the skin, if left untreated for a longer period of time; it may harm internal organs, such as blood vessels, and the digestive tract.
The continuous long-term damage of the connective tissues may result in the scarring, hardening and/or thickening of skin in specific areas. Scleroderma may occur due to genetic as well as environmental factors. Environmental factors like long term exposure to silica, dust particles, certain toxic chemicals, and pesticides are responsible for increasing the risk of being affected with scleroderma.
Classification of scleroderma includes;
- Local Scleroderma just affects the skin and is quite common in children.
- Systemic Scleroderma spreads affecting internal organs, blood vessels and digestive tract and is commonly reported in women.
The symptoms are often identified to be progressive in nature, from mild to severe; and can be noted as follows;
- Numbness and tingling sensation,
- Swelling of the limbs,
- Increased or decreased pigmentation of the skin,
- Ulcers or sores,
- Hair loss, and change in the hair color,
- Vaginal dryness,
- Muscular weakness,
- Fatigue, and
- Decreased stamina.
In most of the cases, the skin problems related to the localized scleroderma have been reported to get fade away after almost 3-5 years. Systemic scleroderma can commonly be treated with tissue-specific anti-inflammatory as well as steroidal medication to stop or delay the progression.