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Scleroderma

Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes hardening of the skin and other tissues of the body. There are two major forms of the disease. The limited form may causes Raynaud’s phenomenon (a condition in which the fingers and toes are extremely sensitive to cold and become painful and change color with cold exposure), calcium deposits in the skin, heartburn, skin thickening on the fingers, and dilated blood vessels. This is also known as the CREST syndrome. In the diffuse form of the disease, thickening of the skin on the arms, legs and trunk occur, and internal organs are more likely to be involved. In addition, lung involvement in the forms of lung inflammation and pulmonary hypertension (increased resistance in the blood vessels of the lungs) can be seen in both types. The heart and kidneys can also be affected. Scleroderma is a rare disease that affects women more commonly than men.