What Is Scleroderma?

Scleroderma causes abnormal growth of the connective tissue that affects the joints, skin and internal organs. Scleroderma is also associated with blood vessel abnormalities.

Scleroderma is thought to be an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the body's immune system turns on itself. Although genes play a role in the disease, it is not passed on from parents to children. In addition, unknown environmental factors likely play a role.

Scleroderma can be either a localized disease or a disease that affects the whole body. When it affects the whole body, it is also called systemic sclerosis or systemic scleroderma.