What is scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a complex systemic autoimmune disease where an immune response tricks your tissues into thinking they are injured. This causes inflammation and production of too much collagen which results in patches of tight, hard skin to develop.

Two major types include:

  • Localized: Affects your skin and the structures beneath the skin
  • Systemic (systemic sclerosis): Affects many systems in your body, and can damage your blood vessels and internal organs


  • Hard or tight skin on your fingers
  • Fingertip ulcers
  • Fingers or toes turning blue with cold exposure
  • Cough or shortness of breath when exercising

Risk factors

  • Genetic and environmental factors

Diagnosing scleroderma

  • Detailed medical history and physical examination
  • Laboratory testing
  • Imaging studies

Treating scleroderma

  • Management typically requires a team of multiple specialists, including a rheumatologist, dermatologist and pulmonologist, since this condition impacts each patient differently


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