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Scleroderma involves a wide variety of symptoms. In most cases, people first have symptoms that are associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Raynaud's phenomenon causes:

  • Changes in skin color of the fingertips, toes, and nose in response to cold or emotional stress
  • Skin usually turns very white when first exposed to cold, then blue, then very red
  • May be accompanied by pain, tingling, numbness

Scleroderma may cause:

  • Sores or ulcers on the fingers
  • Changes in the skin as areas of affected skin lose hair and become stiff, hard, thick, and shiny
  • Tight skin over face that makes it hard to change expression
  • Skin creases diminish or disappear
  • Whitish bumps of calcium deposits develop under the skin, known as calcinosis
  • Tiny purplish-red blood vessels appear under the skin, known as telangiectasias
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Dry eyes and mouth, called Sjögren’s syndrome

Scleroderma may cause digestive problems, such as:

Scleroderma may cause lung, heart, and kidney problems, such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Abnormal heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias
  • Fainting, known as syncope
References:

Systemic sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated August 5, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Updated August 2012. Accessed August 8, 2013.

What is scleroderma? Scleroderma Foundation website. Available at: http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=patients_whatis. Accessed August 8, 2013.

Last reviewed August 2013 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD; Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.