When you have scleroderma, the thing you’re most likely to notice first is that the skin on your fingers, arms, legs, hands, feet, or face tightens, gets harder, or gets thicker. Help is available, though. Your doctor has treatments to manage scleroderma symptoms, which can also include:
Swelling, stiffness, or pain in the fingers, toes, hands, feet, or face
Fingers and toes that react strongly to cold -- they may look white and hurt. This is called Raynaud's phenomenon.
Red spots on the fingers, palms, face, lips, or tongue. These are called telangiectasias. They happen when tiny blood vessels are widened.
Ulcers or sores on fingertips, knuckles, or elbows
When Shannon Coleman was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), she was surprised by how hard the condition hit her.
“I’d had issues with my back for more than 10 years before I finally got a diagnosis in May 2014,” she says. “I thought I’d be prepared because I work in the health care field -- I’m a medical assistant at a spine clinic -- but I was struck by how debilitating it was to suddenly not be able to live my normal life as a working mom.”
Coleman, like many other people with AS, had...