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What are the first signs of scleroderma?

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The first signs of scleroderma vary depending on the body part where the condition started, states Mayo Clinic. It also depends on the type of scleroderma that affects a person as there are two kinds of scleroderma. For scleroderma that begins in the fingers or toes, its earliest sign is an exaggerated response to cold temperatures. Acid reflux occurs when the condition starts in the digestive system.

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General symptoms of the condition include hardened skin, cold fingers that turn red, sores on fingertips, swollen joints, heartburn, diarrhea and weight loss, says WebMD. Others include muscle weakness, diarrhea and swelling. Types of scleroderma include localized and systemic scleroderma.

There are two types of localized scleroderma: morphea and linear scleroderma. Morphea causes the formation of waxy patches on the skin that vary in size and color. Linear scleroderma begins as a line of hardened skin on the leg, arm or the forehead. Sometimes it develops a long crease in the neck or head, explains Scleroderma Foundation.

There are also two types of systemic scleroderma: limited and diffuse scleroderma, notes Scleroderma Foundation. In limited scleroderma, hardening of the skin is less widespread and only affects hands, fingers and the face. Skin thickening occurs rapidly in diffuse scleroderma, and more skin areas are affected.

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