By | June 10, 2022

In any case, pathological changes in the skin usually lead to the affected person suffering from psychological problems and having to experience a significant impairment of their quality of life. Nevertheless, the treatment options are also quite favorable for scleroderma.

What is scleroderma

Scleroderma, properly progressive systemic scleroderma, is a skin disease that belongs to the autoimmune diseases. In the processes that take place within scleroderma, the collagenous connective tissue, which is so important for the skin, is particularly affected. For what does clitoral hypertrophy mean, please visit

What is known as sclerotization of the supporting tissue, which is elastic to a certain degree, occurs. For this reason, scleroderma is a collagen disease. This means that scleroderma is assigned to the systemic rheumatic diseases of the blood vessels and connective tissue, which are chronic and are characterized by inflammatory processes.

Scleroderma is also known under other synonyms such as system sclerosis, diffuse or systemic scleroderma. More women than men suffer from scleroderma.


The cause of scleroderma has not yet been clarified.

Only direct connections between progressive systemic scleroderma and overreactions or malfunctions in the body’s defense system are assumed. This fact makes it difficult to find a causal therapy against scleroderma.

Intensive scientific research has shown that the cell components of the connective tissue involved in scleroderma do not function properly, resulting in malformations of the collagenous tissue.

In this context, overproduction of collagen occurs in scleroderma, which contributes to hardening and loss of elasticity of the skin. Due to the extreme concentration of collagen, fibrosis occurs in progressive systemic scleroderma.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Scleroderma usually manifests itself as attacks of circulatory disorders in the hands and feet. This Raynaud’s phenomenon is accompanied by a striking pallor, pain and/or numbness. If these circulatory disorders persist over a longer period of time, the small blood vessels in the fingers and toes are permanently damaged.

The skin becomes inflamed and the fingers, feet, lower legs and toes swell. Over time, the skin hardens and also thickens. Because of these changes and poor circulation, she is very pale and appears waxy. The hardening of the skin means that patients can no longer move their joints well.

In particularly severe cases of the disease, there is a loss of subcutaneous fatty tissue. This makes the fingers appear pointed and narrow. These fingers of the Madonna are associated with a loss or limitation of fine motor skills. At this stage, people with scleroderma find it difficult to tie their shoes or button a shirt.

The skin on the tips of the fingers, which is poorly supplied with blood, can die off. This causes small painful wounds, so-called rat bite necrosis. Since the skin on the face is also affected by the changes, the facial expressions of the patients change. They can no longer open their mouths properly and have difficulty in eating.

Diagnosis & History

As a consequence of the fibrosis manifesting itself in the skin, solid areas develop in the connective tissue layers in scleroderma . In the case of scleroderma, these contribute to the fact that the blood vessels can no longer expand sufficiently, which promotes an undersupply of the surrounding tissue. In addition, scars form in the skin with scleroderma.

The course of progressive systemic scleroderma is characterized by acral limiting or diffuse progression. The treatment depends on the skin changes that occur.

Various methods are available to physicians for the targeted diagnosis of scleroderma. In addition to the classic clinical manifestations, there are examinations of skin tissue and a determination of the body’s own antibodies and the blood sedimentation rate in order to detect scleroderma.


The complications of scleroderma are based on the type of disease and the involvement of the internal organs. Circumscribed scleroderma, for example, is not life-threatening. However, if the disease affects the lungs, it can lead to pulmonary hypertension, which in the further course is associated with serious complications and may even lead to the death of the patient.

Occasionally, the typical edema becomes inflamed and scars or lumps develop. A so-called secondary Raynaud’s syndrome usually develops, in which the skin areas become pale and the fingertips become scarred. In the worst case, the tissue can even die off. The skin tension on the face leads to so-called facial rigidity, which is associated with premature wrinkling and skin irritation.

In some cases, the skin changes permanently and pigment disorders occur. In the further stages of the disease, joint inflammation, difficulty swallowing and pulmonary fibrosis occur. All of these ailments come with additional complications.

The treatment itself is usually risk-free. Complications can occur, for example, as a result of the medication prescribed, as part of ergotherapy or with acupuncture. A recurrence of scleroderma after completion of treatment cannot be ruled out either.

When should you go to the doctor?

Scleroderma should always be treated by a doctor. Without treatment, the affected person’s quality of life is significantly reduced, so that treatment should be carried out as soon as the first signs and symptoms of scleroderma appear. A doctor should be consulted for scleroderma if the person affected suffers from severe circulatory disorders. As a rule, feelings of numbness occur, so that even normal movement is no longer possible without further ado.

In many cases, permanent paleness or severe swelling of the hands can also indicate scleroderma and should be examined if it persists for a longer period of time and does not go away on its own. In many cases, those affected can no longer carry out activities with their fingers and hands without discomfort.

In the case of scleroderma, a general practitioner or an orthopedist can be consulted in the first place. Further treatment is then usually carried out by a specialist and depends on the exact characteristics of the symptoms. As a rule, the life expectancy of those affected is not reduced by scleroderma.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of progressive systematic scleroderma includes selected procedures that are usually not new. In principle, scleroderma cannot be cured.

However, since numerous physical complaints appear as a result of the progression of scleroderma, the treatment is primarily aimed at improving the quality of life. Maintaining mobility is at the center of all therapeutic concepts against scleroderma. For this reason, in addition to special physiotherapy and occupational therapy, so-called physical treatments are also the focus of treatment.

Since those affected suffer greatly, heat therapy applications should bring relief. Of course, these procedures as well as massages and, as an alternative, acupuncture in scleroderma are supported by medicinal substances.

Scleroderma not only brings with it persistent symptoms and severe health restrictions. Scleroderma is also known to have complications. These are represented by the intake of immunosuppressants, preparations with acetylsalicylic acid to stimulate blood circulation, as well as ACE inhibitors and glucocorticoids.


Actual prevention against the occurrence of progressive systemic scleroderma has not yet been achieved. A worsening of the symptoms and possible risks can only be reduced through extensive professional support and care during scleroderma.

In this context, prophylaxis includes continuous monitoring of vital functions, regular skin care and skin monitoring, proper eye care and avoidance of nicotine and alcohol. Long-term applications, which have already been described in the context of the available treatments and are extremely useful, also help against a worsening of the scleroderma.


As a rule, the measures or the options for aftercare for scleroderma are significantly limited or are not available to the person concerned. They are primarily dependent on a quick and, above all, early diagnosis of this disease, so that there are no complications or further spread of the tumor in the further course.

Self-healing is usually not possible with this disease. The treatment depends heavily on the severity of the scleroderma, so that no general course can be predicted. In most cases, however, patients are dependent on taking various medications, whereby it is always important to ensure the correct dosage and regular intake.

If there are any uncertainties or side effects, a doctor should always be consulted first. Regular checks and examinations by a doctor are usually very important during treatment in order to determine further damage to the internal organs. Most patients also depend on the support and help of their own families during treatment. In some cases, scleroderma also reduces the life expectancy of the sufferer.

You can do that yourself

In order not to trigger a deterioration in the complexion or health, the affected person should discuss the use of cosmetic items such as creams or lotions with the attending physician. The care preparations may contain ingredients that lead to an increase in symptoms. It is therefore advisable to check the ingredients used before using cosmetics.

The symptoms of the disease include physical ailments that are perceived as troublesome, especially in everyday life. Physiotherapeutic training is therefore offered in a developed therapy plan. Even outside of the treatments, the person concerned can carry out the exercises they have learned independently and on their own responsibility. This helps and supports the body in improving the overall situation. It also promotes mobility and prevents possible deterioration.

Since this disease does not heal itself and alternative healing methods are not sufficient, it is particularly important to work with a doctor. Regular skin care and observation of skin changes is recommended. To promote blood circulation, care should be taken to ensure that food intake is optimized for blood circulation. In addition, rigid postures should be avoided as they can restrict blood flow. Compensating movements of the limbs are to be carried out in everyday life. As soon as there is a tingling sensation on the skin, the body position should be changed.