What is "skin thickening" or "hardening" in scleroderma patients?

Scleroderma. Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The word “scleroderma” comes from two greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease.
Very complex! Scleroderma causes scar tissue to form for several reasons. One major causes is the build up of collegen in small arteriols which diminishes blood supply. Fibrosis is secondary to this. The main organs affected are the skin and organs with smooth muscle, like your colon or esphagus. Fibrosis of pulmonary arterioles leads to fibrous tissue in the lungs: interferes with breathing and the heart.

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What is "skin thickening" or "hardening" in scleroderma?

Fibrosis. Reactice process where fibroblasts produce new collagen and make skin harder and less supple. There is no good treatment for softening skin of s leroderma. Strong topical steroid creams may offer mild improvement. Read more...
Fibrosis. Fibrosis, or the deposition of collagen, which is relatively avascular, and tends to be much more inelastic that normal collagen. Replacement of muscle in the esophagus with fibrotic tissue causes difficulty with swallowing, etc. It can cause pulmonary fibrosis, but it is the abnormal deposition of collagen. Read more...