Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease of unknown etiology. Fibrotic changes of the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and viscera; abnormalities of the microvasculature; and immune dysfunction characterize this disorder. In one of the first references to SSc in the medical literature, Addison referred to the skin changes as "keloid" in nature.
- Raynaud phenomenon is usually the first symptom of systemic sclerosis.
- Patients experience episodes of vasospasm , which causes blood vessels in the fingers and toes to constrict.
- As less blood is reaching these extremities the skin changes colour to white and the fingers and toes may feel cold and numb.
- As they warm up, they go blue and then red before returning to normal again.