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What is scleroderma disease?

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Quick Answer

Scleroderma is a group of diseases that cause the skin and connective tissues to harden and tighten, according to Mayo Clinic. While it may affect only the skin in some persons, the condition often also attacks other parts of the body such the digestive tract, blood vessels and internal organs

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Full Answer

Scleroderma that mainly attacks the skin is called localized scleroderma, while that which attacks other parts of the body is referred to as systemic or generalized scleroderma, explains WebMD. Localized scleroderma is of two types: morphea and linear. The former manifests in hard oval-like skin patches that appear as red or purple and start to become white in the center later on, while the latter results in thickened leg, arm or facial skin lines.

Systemic scleroderma, on the other hand, affects many body parts and include limited and diffuse scleroderma, as explained by WebMD. Aside from attacking the facial, feet and hand skin, limited scleroderma affects the body systems such as the intestines, lungs and esophagus. Although it develops slowly, it exacerbates with time and may increase blood pressure in the lungs. By contrast, diffuse scleroderma develops rapidly. It manifests in thick skin on the upper arms, feet, hands and middle body section. It also damages the heart, lungs and kidney.

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