Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition that can be limited to specific tissues, such as the skin or fingers and toes, or involve tissues throughout the body. The immune system attacks connective tissue, which is found in most of our organs, and causes it to produce more collagen and harden.
The symptoms of scleroderma depend on which tissues are being affected, however there is almost always some skin involvement and this appears as tight shiny patches. There is also often involvement of the blood vessels of the fingers and/or toes that causes Raynauld’s phenomenon. This looks like fingers or toes that turn white and purple in response to cold or stress.
Scleroderma can have a profound effect on the functioning of the tissues it affects. It is incredibly important to manage the inflammation and collagen deposition as well as support the breakdown of previously developed deposits to enable people to function well with this disease.