Scleroderma is a disease of the immune system that scars and thickens the skin. Sometimes it damages the area around internal organs and blood vessels. It varies in severity from a mild form that most people can handle to life-threatening. The symptoms also vary widely among individuals. Scleroderma has no cure, but available treatments help keep it under control, so it doesn't interfere much with normal life.
In its most common form, scleroderma presents as only one or two patches of hard skin. Most scleroderma patients suffer no harm to their internal organs. The disease is extremely unlikely to spread beyond the areas initially infected. Children with scleroderma are more likely to get it in this highly localized form. Medical research shows females are four times more likely to get scleroderma. Hereditary factors and ethnic origin may affect the chances of it developing.
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