Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder that may involve changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. There are two main types: localized scleroderma, which affects only the skin; and systemic scleroderma, which affects the blood vessels and internal organs, as well as the skin. These two main types also have sub-types.

Localized scleroderma subtypes include:

  • Linear scleroderma
  • Morphea

Systemic scleroderma subtypes include:

  • Diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis
  • Limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis (which includes CREST syndrome)
  • Limited Systemic Sclerosis

The underlying cause of scleroderma is currently unknown; however, some scientists suspect it may be related to a buildup of collagen in the skin and other organs due to an abnormal immune system response. Some cases of scleroderma are induced by environmental factors or occur in association with other underlying disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or Sjogren syndrome. There is no cure, but various treatments may relieve symptoms.

Contact the Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center for more information on Scleroderma.