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Sjögren’s syndrome associated with Systemic Scleroderma

Systemic scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that affects the functioning of small blood vessels and leads to excessive scarring. Individuals with scleroderma are at a higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome. In this article, we will discuss what Sjögren’s syndrome is, and how it is diagnosed, treated, and monitored… Read more


Calcinosis in Systemic Sclerosis

Calcinosis is an accumulation of calcium in the skin and surrounding tissues. It can affect up to 20-40% of people with scleroderma, with a similar rate between limited and diffuse scleroderma. It often occurs on the hands, forearms, elbows, and knees, despite normal calcium levels in the blood. Small lesions may go unnoticed, but may also cause pain, interfere with joint function, or be complicated by ulcers, infections, or nerve compression… Read more


Dermatological Interventions for Facial Manifestations in Scleroderma

As a result of scleroderma, many patients experience functional and cosmetic impairment of the face. This may affect the quality of life and psychological health of patients. Unfortunately, despite the  increasing use of cosmetic procedures in the general population, there is a lack of evidence evaluating the safety and effectiveness of these procedures in scleroderma patients… Read more


Accepting the Diagnosis of Scleroderma

Someone who has difficulty accepting their diagnosis may need to grieve for their previous life before being able to adapt and accept their new reality. This process may include progressions and regressions. It is not necessarily linear, and it varies from one person to the other, depending on their interpretation of their situation and their ability to bounce back. Regardless of the path taken, it is important to respect the person’s pace… Read more


Managing Anxiety and Stress

Everyone experiences anxiety and stress, this includes people with scleroderma. This article aims to demystify these two terms, to understand them, and to learn coping strategies… Read more


What is scleroderma?

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a relatively misunderstood chronic disease affecting about one in 5,000 people. In British Columbia, it is estimated that several thousands of people suffer from scleroderma. Disease onset usually occurs in the fourth decade of life and is five time more prevalent in women than men. Scleroderma is one of the so-called “autoimmune” diseases in which the body’s antibodies attack its own cells… Read more


The Different Forms of Scleroderma

The name «scleroderma» is derived from the Greek words «sclero», meaning hard and «derma», meaning skin. Thus, the characteristic feature of scleroderma is the hardening of the skin. Scleroderma is generally divided into two main forms: localized scleroderma and systemic scleroderma (or systemic sclerosis)… Read more


Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Digital Ulcers

The most common and earliest problem observed in systemic sclerosis is Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP). This phenomenon is due to a narrowing of the blood vessels in the fingers caused by exposure to cold and strong emotions, and is manifested by a change in colour of the fingers, which turn white, then blue and finally red… Read more


Pulmonary Fibrosis in Systemic Sclerosis

Pulmonary fibrosis is a common manifestation of systemic sclerosis, being present in about half of the patients. However, pulmonary fibrosis is severe in only about 15% of patients… Read more


Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Systemic Sclerosis

PAH in systemic sclerosis is due to an exaggerated and progressive narrowing of the small blood vessels in the lungs. This is caused, on the one hand, by the increased presence of molecules (chem[1]ical signals) that promote the contraction and obliteration of the pulmonary arteries… Read more


Cardiac Involvement in Systemic Sclerosis

Cardiac involvement occurs in 10 to 30% of patients with systemic sclerosis. Cardiac involvement occurs in both the limited and diffuse forms of the disease, but is generally more frequent and severe in patients with diffuse disease… Read more


Gastrointestinal Involvement in Systemic Sclerosis

The digestive tract is involved in nearly all systemic sclerosis patients and can be present even in the absence of symptoms in half of patients. The frequency is similar in diffuse and limited forms of systemic sclerosis. However, severe manifestations are uncommon, occurring in less than 10% of patients… Read more


The Kidney in Systemic Sclerosis

The kidneys play a critical role in removing chemical waste products from the body, maintaining body fluid volume and controlling blood pressure. Kidney abnormalities encountered in systemic sclerosis are relatively common and, fortunately, most often with few consequences… Read more


Scleromyositis: a specific muscle manifestation of scleroderma

The main symptom of myositis is usually muscle weakness, mainly in the shoulders and hips. People with myositis may have difficulty lifting their arms above their shoulders, lifting heavy objects, climbing stairs or getting up from a seat… Read more


Bone Health & Scleroderma 

The prevalence of osteoporosis is increased in people with scleroderma, affecting approximately 30% of individuals. This increased risk may be related to the presence of risk factors for osteoporosis, such as advanced age, early menopause use of glucocorticoid drugs, malabsorption related to bowel involvement, vitamin D deficiency and chronic inflammation… Read more


Scleroderma in Children

There are two types of scleroderma in children.

The first is called «localized scleroderma». This is the most common in children. It affects the skin in one area of the body only. The other type is called «systemic scleroderma». This can affect many areas of the skin, as well as the organs of the body. It is rare in children… Read more


How to diagnose Systemic Sclerosis

The diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (SSc, systemic scleroderma) is usually based on the presence of a combination of symptoms and signs typical of systemic sclerosis: Raynaud’s phenomenon; skin thickening or puffy «sausage-like» swelling of the fingers; autoantibodies associated with systemic sclerosis in a blood sample; abnormalities in small blood vessels at the base of the nails; other skin and internal organ involvement associated with systemic sclerosis… Read more


Capillaroscopy and complementary observations

Nailfold capillaroscopy is a simple, non-invasive, painless examination mainly performed on the hands that allows the study of small blood vessels, called capillaries, located around the nail beds. After depositing a drop of oil to make the skin more transparent, the periungual capillaries are observed under a microscope… Read more


How does Systemic Sclerosis evolve?

The evolution of systemic sclerosis is variable, depending on the extent of skin thickening (limited or diffuse systemic sclerosis), the presence of specific autoantibodies in the blood and the presence of internal organ involvement… Read more


Autoantibodies in scleroderma

As we can see, the pathophysiology of SSc is complicated. These pathogenic mechanisms have been the subject of intensive research in order to understand their interrelationships and to find “weak points” in the pathophysiological cascades that may become new therapeutic targets. In this article, we will focus on the dysregulation of the immune system and, in particular, on the specific antibodies that are typically found in the blood of SSc patients… Read more