Scleroderma is a group of diseases with a common symptom: hardening and tightening of the skin. There are two types of scleroderma: localized and systemic. Localized scleroderma only affects the skin and systemic scleroderma affects the skin, the blood vessels and internal organs.
Scleroderma is a rheumatic disease, which means patients may have inflammation, pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles and/or tissues. It’s also an autoimmune disease.
Scleroderma affects many more women than men, and it’s typically found in people between the ages of 30 and 50. As many as 300,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with scleroderma, and as many as 10,000 die each year from the most serious forms of the disease.