According to the Scleroderma Foundation, scleroderma is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease characterized by hardening (“sclero”) of the skin (“derma”), although it may also affect internal organs. There is currently no cure for scleroderma, but effective treatments for some forms of the disease and its wide array of symptoms are available.
The six types of scleroderma can be separated into two major classifications: localized scleroderma and systemic sclerosis (SSc). However, patients can have different symptoms and different combinations of illness.
Localized scleroderma is characterized by inflammation and thickening of the skin from excessive collagen deposition. Relatively mild, only a few areas of the body are affected — usually the skin or muscles. Localized scleroderma rarely becomes systemic, Internal organs are typically not affected.