Scleroderma is a group of diseases that cause skin, and sometimes internal organs, to become hard and tight. In fact, the word scleroderma actually means "hard skin." It happens when the body makes too much collagen, the protein that makes up connective tissues.

Localized scleroderma usually only affects the skin on the hands and face. Systemic scleroderma is more serious and affects connective tissue in many parts of your body, including internal organs.

Scleroderma is considered an autoimmune disease, meaning that the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. According to the Scleroderma Foundation, about 300,000 people in the United States have the condition. It is more common in women than men.

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Review Date: 3/24/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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