Scleroderma

is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue featuring skin thickening, spontaneous scarring, blood vessel disease, and varying degrees of inflammation. It is generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases.

Autoimmune diseases are illnesses which occur when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Scleroderma is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body. This leads to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma, when it's diffuse or widespread over the body, is also referred to as systemic sclerosis.

In scleroderma, the immune system stimulates cells, called fibroblasts, so they produce too much collagen. Collagen is a fibrous type of protein that makes up the body’s connective tissues, including skin. The collagen forms thick connective tissue that builds up within the skin and internal organs and can interfere with their functioning. Blood vessels and joints can also be affected. Localized scleroderma affects only the skin. Systemic scleroderma also harms internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and digestive tract

Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50. Scleroderma can run in families, but in most cases it occurs without any known family tendency for the disease. Scleroderma isn't considered contagious, but it can greatly affect self‐esteem and the ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

There in no known cure for Scleroderma and no medication will halt the overproduction of collagen. But the localized variety of scleroderma sometimes resolves on its own. And a variety of medications can help control the symptoms of scleroderma or help prevent complications.

Symptoms of Scleroderma

Scleroderma symptoms vary, depending on which organ systems are involved. The most prevalent signs and symptoms of scleroderma include:
  • Swelling, tingling, numbness, blue and white color, and pain in fingers and toes brought on by cold or emotional distress ( Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Joint and muscular pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Tight, shiny, dark patch of skin on large areas, such as the face, that may hinder movement
  • Calcium bumps on the fingers or other bony areas
  • Grating noise as inflamed tissues move
  • Sores on fingertips and knuckles
  • Problems with breathing, swallowing, and digesting food resulting from thickening and hardening of lung, esophagus, bowel tissues
  • Shortness of breath, due to scarring on the lungs
  • Heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Kidney disease



HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

For general information or to schedule an appointment, call 212.305.4308. You may need a doctor's referral; please consult with your insurance provider prior to your appointment to ensure your visit will be covered under your policy.

Your appointment

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