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A chronic disorder marked by hardening and thickening of the skin.

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Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease causing fibrosis and commonly affects the skin and internal organs such as the GI tract, lungs, kidney and heart.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 27, 1998

Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease causing fibrosis and commonly affects the skin and internal organs such as the GI tract, lungs, kidney and heart. Most people with scleroderma also have raynaud's phenomenon (RP). RP is defined as vasospasm of arteries or arterioles causing pallor and at least one other colour change upon reperfusion such as cyanosis or redness. Primary RP occurs in the absence of causes such as connective tissue disease. Secondary RP occurs in people with underlying diseases that affect blood vessels especially scleroderma and lupus. The RP that occurs in scleroderma is often more severe in that there is not only vasospasm but also a fixed blood vessel deficit with intimal proliferation and therefore narrowing of the blood vessels. Raynaud's phenomenon may also be accompanied by digital ulcers which are possibly secondary to ischemia.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 27, 1998

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disease that causes decreased blood flow and circulation to patients' extremeties. Symptoms include discolouration, pain, and in some severe cases ulceration of the hands and feet. It is most often triggered by cold, stress, and emotional discomfort. Primary Raynaud's phenomenon has no underlying disease associated with it. Secondary Raynaud's phenomenon is most often associated with scleroderma, but may also be related to systemic lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease, Sjorgen's syndrome, dermatomyositis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 27, 1998

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disease that causes decreased blood flow and circulation to the extremeties. Symptoms include discolouration, pain, and in some severe cases ulceration of the hands and feet. It is most often triggered by cold, stress, and emotional discomfort. Primary Raynaud's phenomenon has no underlying disease associated with it. Secondary Raynaud's phenomenon is most often associated with scleroderma, but may also be related to systemic lupus erythematosus, mixed connective tissue disease, Sjorgen's syndrome, dermatomyositis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease causing hardening and commonly affects the skin and internal organs such as the GI tract, lungs, kidney and heart.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: April 27, 1998

People with connective tissue disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic sclerosis may develop a group of lung diseases called interstitial lung disease. This can affect breathing and quality of life, and can lead to a reduced life span. A drug called cyclophosphamide has been useful in treating other illnesses, but it has side effects.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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