Scleroderma is a group of autoimmune diseases that cause the skin and connective tissues (tissues that support the skin and internal organs) to get thick and hard. A healthy immune system protects your child from infection by attacking invaders such as viruses or other pathogens. In children with scleroderma, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissue, leading to the disease. Scleroderma is rare in children.
At Children’s Health℠, we work closely with both you and your primary care provider so that everyone involved has the information they need to create the best outcomes for your child.
There are two types of scleroderma in children.
Symptoms of scleroderma may include:
There are several tests to diagnose scleroderma in children. A doctor will go over your child's medical history and perform a physical exam. Your healthcare provider may also perform one or more of the following tests:
Not every child needs all these tests. Your physician will tell you exactly what the next steps are. Each year, the specialists at Children’s Health see more than 1,000 pediatric patients for scleroderma and other rheumatic disorders. We have the skills and resources necessary to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for your child too.
The severity and type of your child’s scleroderma will determine the treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Children’s Health is part of the largest and longest established multi-specialty clinic for children with rheumatic diseases in the region. In our rheumatology clinic, dedicated health care professionals help patients and their families manage diseases like scleroderma.
Children’s Health uses a multidisciplinary approach to caring for your child. This allows us to offer our patients care from multiple specialists and experts, in a single appointment, at one location. If your child has symptoms of scleroderma, contact us. We provide the comprehensive and individualized care necessary to put your child back on the path to a healthy life.
For more information on scleroderma, refer to the following resources
Scleroderma is a group of diseases that causes the skin and connective tissues (tissues that support the skin and internal organs) to get thick and hard.
The exact cause of scleroderma is unknown.
There are two types of scleroderma, localized and systemic.
If your child has symptoms of scleroderma, you should have him evaluated by a physician. Symptoms of scleroderma may include hardening or thickening of the skin; extreme sensitivity to cold that causes discoloration, numbness, or pain in the fingers and toes; heartburn; enlarged blood vessels on the hands and face and around the nail beds; small white lumps under the skin; joint pain; and weight loss.
Tests used to diagnose scleroderma include blood tests, urine tests, X-rays, imaging studies, and skin biopsies.
Treatments for scleroderma may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.