What does it mean when your skin turns hard?
Scleroderma is a rare and chronic condition that can affect many parts of your body including the skin, joints, blood vessels and internal organs. The word “scleroderma” means hard skin. One of the most visible symptoms of the condition, also called systemic sclerosis, is hardening or thickening of the skin.
What are the first signs of scleroderma?
- Hardened or thickened skin that looks shiny and smooth. It’s most common on your hands and face.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon.
- Ulcers or sores on your fingertips.
- Small red spots on your face and chest.
- Firm, oval-shaped patches on your skin.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Painful or swollen joints.
- Muscle weakness.
Where does scleroderma usually start?
Another early sign of systemic scleroderma is puffy or swollen hands before thickening and hardening of the skin due to fibrosis. Skin thickening usually occurs first in the fingers (called sclerodactyly) and may also involve the hands and face.
Is scleroderma always fatal?
Although it most often affects the skin, scleroderma also can affect many other parts of the body including the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, muscles and joints. Scleroderma in its most severe forms can be life-threatening.
Is scleroderma a disease or disorder?
Scleroderma is a disease of the body’s connective tissue. Scleroderma means ‘hard skin’. The most common symptom is a thickening and hardening of the skin, particularly of the hands and face. Connective tissue holds together and supports our joints, muscles, internal organs and skin.
What scleroderma looks like?
Nearly everyone who has scleroderma experiences a hardening and tightening of patches of skin. These patches may be shaped like ovals or straight lines, or cover wide areas of the trunk and limbs. The number, location and size of the patches vary by type of scleroderma.
What is the life expectancy of someone with scleroderma?
People who have localized scleroderma may live an uninterrupted life with only minor symptom experiences and management. On the other hand, those diagnosed with an advanced and systemic version of the disease have a prognosis of anywhere from three to 15 years.
Does scleroderma make you gain weight?
Acute localized scleroderma (morphea) can present as severe generalized oedema with rapid weight gain and oliguria.
What virus causes scleroderma?
One theory suggests that scleroderma is caused by a virus or other infection. For example, a common virus called CMV (cytomegalovirus) is known to infect cells (endothelial cells) that line our blood vessels, which we know are diseased in scleroderma (3).
What can mimic scleroderma?
However, similar features of hard and thick skin can be seen in other conditions which are often referred to as “scleroderma mimics”. These mimics include eosinophilic fasciitis, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, scleromyxedema, and scleredema among others.
How can I stop my skin from thickening?
The best thing you can do is force yourself to break the cycle.
- Try wearing gloves while you sleep. …
- Cover affected patches of skin. …
- Keep your nails extra short. …
- Apply cool, wet compresses. …
- Use gentle, fragrance-free products. …
- Take warm oatmeal baths. …
- Avoid anything that triggers itchiness, including stress.