What are the Early Symptoms of Scleroderma? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 15:49
Scleroderma is a term used to describe a group of rare, chronic diseases characterized by unusual tightening and hardening of the connective tissues and skin. There are two major types of scleroderma: localized, which only affects the skin; and systemic, which affects the internal organs in addition to the skin.

Health officials at MayoClinic.com report that Native American or African-American females are most likely to be affected by this condition. The early symptoms of scleroderma can vary between patients and should be discussed with a doctor if they occur.

Skin Swelling, Thickening or Tightening
Patients with scleroderma can develop abnormal skin changes as a symptom of this condition. The fingers or hands can appear unusually puffy or enlarged and may develop thick patches of skin. Skin across the face or hands can become abnormally tight, which may lead to difficult or restricted movement of the affected body regions, explain health officials at MayoClinic.com. Patients may notice that the affected skin appears shiny or is hard or firm to the touch. These scleroderma symptoms may be mild initially but can become progressively worse over time.

Skin Discoloration
Unusual, sudden skin discoloration in response to cold temperatures can occur as a symptom of scleroderma. This symptom, which is referred to as Raynaud's phenomenon, is characterized by an abnormal white, blue or red discoloration of the skin along the fingers and toes caused by restricted blood flow to these body regions. Patients who experience Raynaud's phenomenon often develop sensations of numbness or pain within the hands and feet. These symptoms are typically temporary but can reoccur sporadically throughout the day, explains the Merck Manual, an online medical encyclopedia for health professionals. Severe emotional trauma or upset may also instigate Raynaud's phenomenon symptoms in certain patients.

Joint or Muscle Pain
Scleroderma can cause inflammation of the joints or muscles of patients during the early stages of this disease. As a result, affected patients can experience sensations of pain or aching throughout the body. These painful symptoms may occur in conjunction with muscle weakness, which can lead to difficulty standing or walking.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Patients with scleroderma can develop early symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. GERD symptoms can include heartburn, nausea, difficulty swallowing, chest discomfort or sore throat. Certain patients can experience a decrease in appetite that may be accompanied by bowel movement changes. Over time, these early symptoms of scleroderma can become worse and may lead to poor nutrient absorption and difficulty controlling stool production, a condition called fecal incontinence.

Source: Livestrong.com
 
More articles :

» Exposure To Solvents A Health Risk

Exposure to solvents by medical laboratory workers may be a health risk according to a new study from the , Wellington just published in . "Our study of 341 medical laboratory workers indicates they are more likely to develop a condition called...

» Cancer Drug Shows Promise For Treating Scleroderma

A drug approved to treat certain types of cancer has shown promising results in the treatment of patients with , according to results from an open-label Phase II trial. While the drug's efficacy must be demonstrated in a Phase III trial, the gold...

» What is Chelation Therapy?

Chelation (pronounced key-LAY-shun) therapy is a chemical process in which a synthetic solution-EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is injected into the bloodstream to remove heavy metals and/or minerals from the body. Chelation means "to grab"...

» Platelet Gel In The Treatment Of Severe Scleroderma Skin Ulcers

Dilia Giuggioli, Michele Colaci, Andreina Manfredi, Mariateresa Mariano and Clodoveo FerriSystemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterized by microvascular damage and fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. Non-healing skin ulcers, mainly non-venous leg...

» Interleukin-6: A New Therapeutic Target in Scleroderma

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a classic pro-inflammatory cytokine critical in mounting an effective immune response. It is secreted by a wide array of cell types; however, its effector cells are more restricted, owing to the fact that very few cells,...

» Rheumatologist Receives Scleroderma Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award

In a recent article, it was reported that ,  Gerald P. Rodnan Professor of Medicine, , received the 's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his service to the community. The award is the foundation's highest honor and is presented to...