About 300,000 Americans are affected by scleroderma and nearly everyone with the ailment also have Raynaud’s Disease.
According to the Scleroderma Foundation, scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The word “scleroderma” comes from two Greek words: “sclero” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible manifestations of the disease.
In fact, one of the first symptoms of scleroderma is experiencing the effects of Raynaud’s Disease.According to The Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center, finger color changes associated with Raynaud’s are caused by narrowing of the blood vessels. This happens due to an excess of collagen that has narrowed the blood vessels and an overreaction of the skin blood vessel to cold temperatures and emotional stress. Though, most people with Raynaud’s phenomenon will NOT develop scleroderma.
In other words, Raynaud’s Disease – also known as Raynaud’s Syndrome or Raynaud’s Phenomenon – is a circulatory problem. It can leave you with cold, throbbing fingers – even in mild weather. When an “attack” hits, the sufferer’s fingers can turn white, blue, or red. When the fingers warm up, it can cause pain. Attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
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