Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition that involves hardening of the skin and connective tissues, leading to either temporary or permanent cell damage. The disease may lead to improper functioning of any affected limbs, as well as the heart, lungs, or kidneys. Direct causes of the overactive immune response remain unknown.
The word “scleroderma” comes from the Greek words sclero, or hard, and derma, or skin.
This chronic disease is not a malignant or contagious condition, and is not restricted to the skin’s surface as it can affect the tissues and blood vessels within major organs and joints.
There are varying degrees and types of scleroderma, which can lead to serious and life-threatening complications.