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What is Juvenile Systemic Sclerosis?

Q: What is Juvenile Systemic Sclerosis and its symptoms? Is this a common disease which can be easily cured with drugs? What are the other treatment options?

A:Juvenile scleroderma is a rare disorder of childhood, and is basically of two types: limited to the skin and present as thickened skin areas either as patches or as linear bands. This variety involves the skin and underlying tissues, with no internal organ involvement. As the child is growing, this disease can hamper growth of the involved limb. The treatment is with a drug called methotrexate, which should be started as soon as possible to limit disease related damage. The second subtype is called systemic scleroderma which begins with discolouration of the hands on cold exposure (Raynaud's phenomenon), thickening of the skin of the digits and may be associated with involvement of the internal organs. This category needs careful evaluation with treatment options varying according to organ involvement. In general, juvenile scleroderma has a better prognosis as compared to adult scleroderma.

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