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Grand Strand Medical Center
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South Strand Medical Center
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Symptoms of Scleroderma

Systemic sclerosis and localized scleroderma both present with skin changes.

  • They usually appear on the chest, stomach, and back, but occasionally on the face, arms, and legs.
  • Findings may include:
    • Waxy patches on the skin of varying sizes, shapes and color
    • Tight skin over face that makes it hard to change expression
    • Thick and tight skin on the fingers
    • Skin creases diminish or disappear
    • Changes in the skin as areas of affected skin lose hair and become stiff, hard, thick, and shiny
    • Whitish bumps of calcium deposits develop under the skin, known as calcinosis
    • Tiny purplish-red blood vessels appear under the skin—telangiectasias
    • Sores or ulcers on the fingers

Systemic sclerosis may also involve a wide variety of symptoms.

  • In most cases the first symptoms are associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon
    • Changes in skin color of the fingertips, toes, and nose in response to cold or emotional stress
    • Skin usually turns very white when first exposed to cold, then blue, then very red
    • May be accompanied by pain, tingling, numbness
  • Systemic sclerosis may also cause
    • Arthritis
    • Muscle pain and weakness
    • Dry eyes and mouth—Sjögren’s syndrome
    • Digestive problems, such as:
    • Lung, heart, and kidney problems, such as:
      • Shortness of breath
      • Abnormal heart rhythms—arrhythmias
      • Reduced kidney function

Revision Information

  • Localized scleroderma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114314/Localized-scleroderma. Updated June 4, 2013. Accessed November 29, 2016.

  • Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Scleroderma/default.asp. Updated August 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016.

  • Systemic sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116347/Systemic-sclerosis. Updated June 9, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016.

  • What is scleroderma? Scleroderma Foundation website. Available at: http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=patients%5Fwhatis#.V2G4ck2FPIU. Accessed November 29, 2016.