What is scleroderma?

Updated: Nov 13, 2018
  • Author: Sergio A Jimenez, MD, MACR, FACP, FRCP(UK Hon); Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The term scleroderma is derived from the Greek words skleros (hard or indurated) and derma (skin) and it is used to describe a disease characterized by progressive skin hardening and induration. Scleroderma is an aspect of systemic sclerosis, a systemic connective tissue disease that also involves subcutaneous tissue, muscles, and internal organs.

Diagnosis is based on clinical manifestations, but tests and procedures may be used initiallly to exclude alternative diagnoses, and later for assessment of organ involvement and monitoring of disease progression (see Presentation and Workup). Treatment is directed principally toward managing complications and providing symptomatic relief, but disease-modifying agents are under investigation (see Treatment and Medication).


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