Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Esophageal Scleroderma

Scleroderma is the result of the body overproducing collagen, a fibrous protein, which is then stored in the body’s tissues. The exact cause of this overproduction isn’t known, but it is related to a malfunctioning immune system. In some patients, a connection has been found to chemical exposure, including pesticides, solvents and epoxy resins.

Diagnosing esophageal scleroderma

Scleroderma is usually diagnosed based on medical history, a physical examination and notable changes in the skin or internal organs. Other tests may include:

  • Antibody test: This type of blood test may help distinguish the type of scleroderma.
  • Esophagram/barium swallow: A special series of X-rays is taken of your esophagus after you drink small amounts of a liquid containing barium, a contrast material that coats your esophagus and shows up well on X-rays.
  • CT scan: A computed tomography (CT) scan combines X-ray and computer technology to produce detailed cross-sectional images of your esophagus.

Related Resources

Scleroderma Foundation*
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