Scleroderma is a type of skin disease that can result in the skin becoming abnormally hard and tight, sometimes resulting in redness, discomfort, and pain. In many cases scleroderma affects only the skin, but technically it can also affect connective tissues beneath the skin, including blood vessels and even internal organs.
Because scleroderma can affect so many different parts of the body, associated symptoms vary widely from person to person. Additionally, it tends to show differently in women than men and is more likely to affect women. It’s also more likely to emerge in people between the ages of 30 and 50. Unfortunately, there’s no comprehensive cure for scleroderma, but there are a number of treatments that can make a significant difference in improving a patient’s overall quality of life.
Because scleroderma often goes beyond impacting the skin (typically by making it harder and tighter) to the area beneath the skin, doctors may prescribe medications designed to help dilate the body’s blood vessels.
These medications will be familiar to anyone who has struggled with high blood pressure. That’s because the common goal is the dilation of the blood vessels, a process that can reduce the risk that scleroderma will become more problematic by affecting major organs like the lungs and kidneys. It’s worth noting that, once these kinds of major organs are affected by the disease, it may be difficult to reverse the damage.