Diseases Home > Early Symptoms of Scleroderma

Early symptoms of scleroderma can vary for each person, and often depend on the type and subtype involved. Common symptoms include patches of thickened and abnormally colored skin and Raynaud's phenomenon (a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose). Treatment options depend on which early symptoms of scleroderma are present and their severity.

Early Symptoms of Scleroderma: An Overview

The group of diseases we call scleroderma fall into two main types:
Each type of scleroderma has subtypes, and each type can have different symptoms.

Early Symptoms of Localized Scleroderma

Localized scleroderma only affects the skin, related tissues, and the muscles below the tissues. It does not affect the internal organs, and it will never progress to systemic scleroderma. Although localized conditions usually improve or go away on their own, over time, the skin changes and damage that occur when the disease is active can be permanent. For some people, localized scleroderma can be serious and disabling. The two recognized types of localized scleroderma are:
  • Morphea
  • Linear.
Early Symptoms of Morphea Scleroderma
Morphea comes from a Greek word that means "form" or "structure." The word refers to local patches of scleroderma. Early symptoms of scleroderma of this type include reddish patches of skin that thicken into firm, oval-shaped areas. The center of each patch becomes ivory-colored with violet borders. These patches sweat very little and have little hair growth. Patches appear most often on the chest, stomach, and back. However, they may appear on the face, arms, and legs.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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