It can. Systemic sclerosis is a progressive disease. It can be fatal by causing heart failure, respiratory failure, and any number of other complications.
Yes. Systemic sclerosis is a slow progressive but relentless disease. Current treatments are of limited efficacy. Having said that, you should follow closely with a rheumatologist.
Raynaud's. Raynaud's 1st but other systems can be involved - skin tightening, each person is different and on occasion the skin can be normal.
Systemic sclerosis. This is based on several criteria and includes skin thickening; Raynaud's phenomenon; abnormal lab studies (anti-Scl 70); abnormal nail capillaries; and in some case lung disease. For more detail, be sure to consult a rheumatologist.
Usually not. The problem with scleroderma is more related to complications. If pain is from the raynaud's phenomenon, vasodilation therapy might solve it.
Raynaud's. Tight skin is characteristic but there can be a variety of other symptoms such as raynaud's whihc is usually the first symptom, shortness of breath, chest pain, trouble swallowing, other GI symptoms, etc. Each person with scleroderma has a different set of symptoms and different type of scleroderma involvement.
Skin, circulation. Scleroderma means, "hard skin." the skin may be thickened, and later hard, on the hands or face as well as the arms legs and trunk. Other people have patches of hard skin that are round or linear. Another common symptom is raynaud's phenomenon which causes the fingers (or toes) to turn white, then blue, and sometimes red when exposed to cold, caffeine, stress, etc. Other symptoms also exist.
Some things like. Patients may experience raynaud phenomenon, where fingers turn white, then blue, then red upon exposure to cold or stress. Prior to skin thickening, they may develop edema and pain of the hands. Another thing to look for is dilated capillaries in the cuticles of the nails.
Sometimes. The skin around the face can be tight in patients with systemic sclerosis. The hands, face, and fingers are typically involved early and can be observed by someone with experience in patients with systemic sclerosis.
Systemic sclerosis. An autoimmune disease characterized by thickening and loss of elasticity of the skin. It may have systemic manifestations as well such as trouble swallowing and acid reflux.
Much research, but. D-penicillamine might work, and there a number of studies suggesting this, but no long term double blind studies exist. A recent report suugest that a drug CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) might be of value, and there are those that use mtx or tetracyclines. The major advances are ability to control BP and treat pulmonary hypertension. We can deal with esophgeal spasm and reflux. Nothing great at present for underlying dx.
Biopsy, blood. In advanced stages, no test is required. It if the diagnosis is suspected early, a skin biopsy will usually prove the diagnosis. In the blood, the scl-70 and the anti-centromere antibody tests are the most helpful. Other tests may be positive. The above two blood tests often help differentiate the disease from other conditions. Other tests are used to evaluate but not diagnose the condition.