Scleroderma is a disease of the skin, joints and sometimes, internal organs. Its cause is not known. Scleroderma means hardening (fibrosis) of the skin, and due to malfunction of the vascular and immune systems, results in the overproduction of collagen (connective tissue in the body). Scleroderma can be localized to the skin or may become systemic with excess collagen building up in various organs such as the esophagus, kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, heart skin, and peripheral nervous system.
Fortunately, scleroderma is relatively rare affecting approximately 300,000 persons in the United States. The disorder most commonly occurs in women between the ages of 20 and 40, however men and children can be affected as well. The disease is not contagious and is not thought to be inherited.
Early diagnosis is important in allowing initiation of treatments designed to prevent long-term complications. Medications are commonly used. Surgery may be required for some conditions. Research is investigating bone marrow transplants for persons with scleroderma.
The Medifocus Guide on Scleroderma provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of scleroderma?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing scleroderma?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of scleroderma?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of scleroderma?
What treatment options are available for the management of scleroderma?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in scleroderma?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for scleroderma?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about scleroderma?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Prazosin for Raynaud's phenomenon in progressive systemic sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Cyclofenil for Raynaud's phenomenon in progressive systemic sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Ketanserin for Raynaud's phenomenon in progressive systemic sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
Iloprost and cisaprost for Raynaud's phenomenon in progressive systemic sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews [computer file]. 2000
De novo systemic sclerosis after radiotherapy: a report of 3 cases. Journal of Rheumatology. 1999
Polyneuropathy as initial manifestation of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. 1999
Morphea and localized scleroderma in children. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine & Surgery. 1999
The treatment of systemic sclerosis. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 1999
Early diagnosis of systemic sclerosis. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 1999
Raynaud's phenomenon and vascular disease in systemic sclerosis. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 1999
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