What is scleroderma?
Scleroderma (say: “sclare-oh-DER-muh”) is a chronic (ongoing) disease that affects the skin and may also affect internal organs in some people. Scleroderma causes the body to produce too much collagen. Collagen is a protein that makes up connective tissues, such as the skin. Too much collagen can make the skin stretch, harden and thicken, and can also cause damage to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs and kidneys.
There are 2 types of scleroderma: localized and systemic. Localized scleroderma affects the skin only. Systemic scleroderma affects blood vessels and internal organs, as well as the skin.
Who gets scleroderma?
Anyone can have scleroderma, but women are more likely to develop it. Systemic scleroderma is more common in African-Americans and some Native Americans.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff