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Understanding Scleroderma

In Greek, “sclero” means “hard” and “derma” is skin. In modern medical terminology, scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder. Although it can’t be cured, scleroderma can be treated and managed. 

At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, Reinhard Kage, MD, PhD, Barbara Kage, MD, and Donna Duffy, PA-C, and the rest of our staff are dedicated to helping patients with chronic autoimmune conditions, such as scleroderma, achieve excellent quality of life. 

When you have scleroderma your skin, tendons, and ligaments are at risk. Your immune system produces excess collagen as if your connective tissues were injured and need to heal. However, the collagen builds up and hardens your connective tissues. 

Symptoms

Not everyone who has scleroderma experiences the same symptoms. In some people, only the skin hardens, but in other people, virtually every organ is affected. 

These are common symptoms: 

In cases where scleroderma affects the blood vessels and organs, symptoms may include: 

Treatments

Currently, there’s no cure for scleroderma, but there are treatments that can ease symptoms, relieve pain, and make your life more comfortable. 

Some of the medications that the experts at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut may suggest if you have scleroderma include: 

Physical therapy may also be an option to help improve your range of motion, build strength, and manage pain. 

In some instances, surgical intervention may be necessary. Raynaud’s disease in addition to scleroderma may require amputation of affected fingertips because Raynaud’s disease can restrict blood flow to your fingers causing tissue loss. 

Systemic scleroderma, in which your organs are affected, may require surgery as well. Surgical intervention can extend your life. 

Because scleroderma can affect your body in so many different ways, it’s important for your treatment to be highly individualized. Our experts provide a thorough examination and discuss your symptoms and history with you before making any treatment suggestions. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with scleroderma and you’re curious about your options, schedule an appointment at Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut today. You can request an appointment online or call one of our offices in Manchester or Middletown, CT, that works best for you to schedule

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