KidsMD Health Topics

Scleroderma in Children

  • Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune condition that leads to scarring of the skin, joints, and other internal organs.

    • In the United States, about one in 1,000 people are affected.

    • While found among all races worldwide, the disease has high rates among the native American Choctaw tribe and African-American females.

    • Women are four times more likely to develop scleroderma than men.

    How Children’s approaches scleroderma

    The Samara Jan Turkel Clinical Center for Pediatric Autoimmune Disease provides comprehensive and coordinated care and support for patients and families facing the complexities of scleroderma and other challenging autoimmune diseases. Clinical care includes outpatient and inpatient treatment, a wide range of rehabilitative therapies, pain management, outreach to complementary therapies such as acupuncture and massage, and developmental and psychosocial support.

    CREST syndrome

    A less severe form of scleroderma is called CREST. The CREST syndrome represents the following symptoms:    

    • Calcium skin deposits

    • Raynaud phenomenon (a condition in which the blood vessels of the fingers and toes go into spasm when triggered by factors such as cold, stress or illness; the result is cold, painful or numb fingers and toes which in severe cases may become gangrenous)

    • Esophageal dysfunction (problems with the esophagus, the tube between the mouth and the stomach)

    • Sclerodactyly (skin damage on fingers)

    • Telangiectasia (spider veins), limits skin damage to the fingers. However, this disease, when coupled with pulmonary hypertension (elevated blood pressures within the lungs), can lead to heart and respiratory failure.

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