Scleroderma is a progressive disease marked by abnormal skin, blood vessels and organ connective tissue growth. This “more common in adult females” arthritic condition causes otherwise pliable tissue to thicken, tighten and harden.
The cause of scleroderma is unknown, but your immune system seems to play a part. The two main types of scleroderma are:
- localized ~ affects skin
- systemic ~ affects skin, blood vessels and internal organs
Some cases of localized scleroderma may get better or go away on its own.
Typically, scleroderma initial symptoms are a few dry, red spots on your hands or face skin. These spots get thick, harden and then spread. Other symptoms include:
- puffy hands, feet
- digestive problems
- esophagus swelling
- shiny over bone skin
- elbow/knuckle sores
- thick, tight finger skin
- finger curling difficulty
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- muscle pain, joint swelling
- dry mouth, dental problems
Various skin care treatments and lifestyle adjustments can relieve your red spot, thick skin scleroderma symptoms, like:
- exercise routinely
- avoid hot baths/showers
- use oil-based creams/lotions
- joint motion stretching exercises
- lasers for red spots on the hands and face
- protective measures while in a cold environment
- non-consumption of foods that gives you heartburn or gas
- use rubber gloves to avoid strong soaps, cleaners, chemicals
Beyond skin care and lifestyle treatment, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or low-dose corticosteroids may also help relieve your joint pain and stiffness.
Possibly the single most important thing you should do with scleroderma is exercise. It keeps your skin and joints flexible, improves circulation and relieves stiffness.
Exercise will not cure your red spots, thick skin condition, but it sure helps you live with it.