Scleroderma is a disease that affects the connective tissue of the body and particularly that in the skin where there is hardening. Chiefly women between thirty and fifty years old are affected. The swelling in the skin may be followed by calcification.
This disease comes on slowly and insidiously, but as it progresses changes occur in the skin of the face, neck, and arms. The skin looks waxy and tight and loses its color and hair. When the face is involved there may be difficulty in moving the jaw. Fortunately this is not a common disease; certainly it is not as serious as polyarteritis nodosa or diffuse lupus erythematosus, which are similar.
In the older forms of treatment emphasis was placed on the use of thyroid and vitamins. Great care was given to prevent secondary infections. More recently attention is being focused on the use of ACTH and Cortisone.