is an autoimmune disease
of the connective tissue
featuring skin thickening, spontaneous scarring, blood vessel disease, varying degrees of inflammation, associated with an overactive immune system. Autoimmune diseases are illnesses that occur when the body's tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Scleroderma is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body. This leads to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma, when it's diffuse or widespread over the body, is also referred to as systemic sclerosis
Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual feature(s) affecting different areas of the body.
Aggressive treatments of elevations in blood pressure have been extremely important in preventing kidney failure. Blood-pressure medications, particularly the angiotensin
converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor class of drugs, such as captopril
(Capoten), are frequently used.
Some research indicates that colchicine
can be helpful in decreasing the inflammation and tenderness that periodically accompanies the calcinosis nodules in the skin. Skin itching can be relieved with lotions (emollients) such as Eucerin, Lubriderm etc.
Our understanding of the effects of the immune system in scleroderma is greatly improving. A vast number of clinical research trials are under way that are evaluating potential treatments for various aspects of the disease to improve the prognosis for patients with scleroderma.