8 Symptoms of Scleroderma

Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is an autoimmune disease that results in the overproduction of collagen, causing your skin and connective tissues to tighten and harden. The term “scleroderma” consists of Greek words: “sclera” and “derma”, meaning hard and skin respectively. If you have scleroderma, your skin appearance and texture changes.

Collagen is an important structural protein that forms your skin. While the exact cause of excessive production of collagen is not clear, health experts link it to autoimmune disorders. When your immune system malfunctions, your body responds by producing excess collagen. Too much collagen causes skin thickening and tightening. It can also result in the formation of scars in your kidney and lungs. As a result, your blood vessels develop thickening, which affects their efficiency in transporting blood to various parts of your body.

These symptoms have the potential to lower the quality of your life; hence, contacting your doctor for scleroderma treatment is necessary.

1. Joint Pain

Joint pain is a feeling of discomfort that occurs in any of your joints. It usually occurs due to joint inflammation. Scleroderma causes the fluid in the tissues around the joints to increase in volume. The excess fluid causes your joints to swell and cause pain. Some of the affected joint structures include ligaments, cartilage, bones, tendons, and muscles. Scleroderma swelling mostly affects your fingers and toes. Depending on the severity and stage of the condition, the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, it begins as mild joint aches and worsens with time. Tenderness and soreness may accompany the pain. In some cases, the pain can be very severe and may hinder your normal movement. However, not every pain in the joints may signify scleroderma. The pain can be due to other underlying causes, including bone cancer, arthritis, Lyme disease, gout, leukemia, and underactive thyroid. If you experience joint pain that does not go away, you need medical help to determine why you have the pain.