scleroderma

/sklear'euh derr"meuh, skler'-/, n. Pathol.
a disease in which connective tissue anywhere in the body becomes hardened and rigid.
[1865-70; SCLERO- + -DERMA]

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or progressive systemic sclerosis

Chronic disease that hardens the skin and fixes it to underlying structures.

Swelling and collagen buildup lead to loss of elasticity. The cause is unknown. It usually begins at age 25–55, more often in women, with severe inflammation of underlying tissue and stiffness, pain, and skin tautness and thickening. Systemic problems that may arise years later include fever, trouble in breathing, fibrous tissue in the lungs, inflammation of heart muscle or membranes, gastrointestinal disorders, and kidney malfunction. Calcium deposits build up under the skin. The disease may finally stabilize or gradually regress. Steroids may help, and physical medicine and rehabilitation with heat, massage, and passive exercise (movement of the limbs by the therapist) help prevent limb fixation and deformity.

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      a chronic disease of the skin that also can affect the blood vessels and various internal organs. Scleroderma is characterized by excessive deposition of collagen—the principal supportive protein of the connective tissues—in affected areas. There are two main types of scleroderma: a systemic form called progressive systemic scleroderma, which can be life-threatening, and a localized form, which is usually not as serious.

      The term scleroderma, which means “hard skin,” indicates the hardening and thickening of the skin that is the most common feature of the disease. Scleroderma strikes women more often than men and may begin at any age, although symptoms commonly appear in persons between the ages of 25 and 50. In cases of localized scleroderma, isolated patches of hardened skin are often the only sign of the disease. Occasionally muscles and bone are involved, but no internal organs are affected. In cases of progressive systemic scleroderma, however, many parts of the body may be involved, including the skin, blood vessels, kidneys, lungs, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. The severity of systemic scleroderma depends on which organs are affected and to what degree they become damaged. Those with localized scleroderma do not usually develop systemic scleroderma.

      The onset of progressive systemic scleroderma usually is marked by hands and feet changing colour from pale to blue to red in response to cold, a manifestation called Raynaud phenomenon that is caused by abnormal blood flow. As the disease progresses, the facial skin often tightens into a shiny mask. Swelling may occur, along with skin discoloration, numbness, and a tingling feeling. The course of the disease is variable and unpredictable. Sometimes years intervene between the early manifestations and the more serious signs of systemic involvement, which may include difficulty in breathing or swallowing, gastrointestinal disorders, kidney malfunction, and inflammation of the heart lining, heart muscle, or sac enclosing the heart. If heart, lung, or kidney dysfunction occurs early in the course of the disease, the prognosis is poor.

      There is a milder variant of progressive systemic scleroderma, called CREST syndrome. The acronym is derived from the first letters of the five main features of the disease:
Calcinosis cutis, calcium deposits in the skin
Raynaud phenomenon
Esophageal dysfunction
Sclerodactyly, tightening of the skin on the fingers and toes
Telangiectasia, red spots on the face, lips, forearms, and hands

      The signs and symptoms of scleroderma arise because the tissue of the targeted organ is inflamed and irritated and eventually becomes scarred and loses normal elasticity. These changes occur as a result of an increase in the deposition of collagen in the targeted areas. Collagen overproduction is thought to result from an autoimmune (autoimmunity) reaction—i.e., a malfunctioning of the immune system that causes the body to attack its own components. The stimulus that results in this derangement of the immune system is not known.

      No cure has been found for scleroderma, but treatments are available that help alleviate its symptoms. For example, corticosteroids help reduce inflammation, and immunosuppressants and other drugs help soften the skin. Heat, massage, and physical therapy are often of value, and sometimes a change of climate can bring about improvement.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Scleroderma — Scleroderma …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Scleroderma — Scler o*der ma, n. [NL.] (Med.) A disease of adults, characterized by a diffuse rigidity and hardness of the skin. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • scleroderma — scleroderma. См. склеродермия. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Scleroderma — Scleroderma, 1) (S. Pers., N. v. E.), Pilzgattung aus der Familie der Gasteromycetes Trichogastri; Art: S. vulgare, bildet eine harte, warzige, unregelmäßig aufreißende, etwas gestielte Blase, ist etwa 2 Zoll dick, citronengelb, mit kleinen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Scleroderma — Pers. (Fellstreuling, Hart , Kartoffelbovist), Pilzgattung aus der Ordnung der Gastromyzeten, auf der Erde oder halb unterirdisch wachsende, mit wurzelartigen Myceliumsträngen versehene, ziemlich große, knollenförmige Pilze mit dicker, leder bis… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Sclerodérma — Pers., Hartbofist, Pilzgattg. der Gasteromyzeten, mit hühnereigroßen, fast ganz unterirdischen, trüffelartigen Fruchtkörpern; S. vulgāris Fr. wird häufig als echte Trüffel verkauft, ist aber giftig …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • scleroderma — 1866, from Mod.L., from Gk. skleros hard (see SCLEROSIS (Cf. sclerosis)) + derma skin (see DERMA (Cf. derma)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • scleroderma — [sklir΄ə dʉr′mə, skler΄dʉr′mə] n. [ModL: see SCLERO & DERMA1] 1. hardening and thickening of the skin due to abnormal fibrous tissue growth 2. a disease in which this condition occurs …   English World dictionary

  • Scleroderma — This article is about the disease. For the mushroom, see Scleroderma (genus). Not to be confused with the skin disease scleredema. Scleroderma Classification and external resources ICD 10 L …   Wikipedia

  • Scleroderma — Scleroderma …   Wikipédia en Français

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