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What are the different types of Scleroderma?

There have been many attempts to classify scleroderma so that patients and doctors can plan appropriate management of the condition. This is because the condition varies widely in different patients, with some patients having only a very minor problem with never any progression of the disorder, whilst others can have a very serious illness. Luckily, the majority of patients have the milder disease. Basically there are two types of scleroderma. The first is termed limited and the second diffuse. The extent of skin involvement is used to divide the patients into these two groups. Limited scleroderma usually causes Raynaud’s phenomena and hardening of the skin in the hands. Other internal organ involvement can occur, though usually over a period of many years with the disease. Diffuse scleroderma affects the skin not only on the hands and forearms, but it can also affect the skin on the trunk, upper arms and thighs. Patients with this condition often have a more systemic illness affecting other organs and tissues and can require more intensive treatment. About 70% of people with systemic scleroderma have limited disease, while approximately 30% have the more diffuse form. Although most patients can be classified as having either limited or diffuse disease, different people may have different symptoms and different combination of symptoms of the illness.