The symptoms and severity of the disorder vary from one person to another based on the systems and organs involved.
It is very common to experience hardening and tightening of patches of your skin with SS. The patches may be oval-shaped or a straight line that can cover large areas of your skin.
Your skin may also appear shiny since it’s so tight with your movement restricted.
Fingers and toes
Raynaud’s phenomenon results from limited cutaneous systemic scleroderma. Here, you will see small blood vessels in your fingers and toes start to constrict, or shrink, in response to cold temperatures or certain emotions.
As a result, your fingers and toes may become painful, turn blue, or go numb.
SS affects all or some parts of your digestive tract. If the esophagus is involved, you may experience heartburn or swallowing difficulty.
Your intestines may also be affected. In that case, you may experience:
In your intestines, your body absorbs the nutrients it needs to function. So if your muscles are not working correctly to digest your food, you may experience nutritional deficiencies as a result.
Heart, lungs, and kidneys
SS may affect other organs, including your heart, lungs, and kidneys. When the disease process reaches this point, it may become life-threatening without early treatment.
Scleroderma renal crisis is a rare but severe complication of SS that remains a significant risk factor for the life-threatening progression of the disease. However, a 2016 study mentioned that it only affects 2.4 to 5 percent of people who receive a diagnosis of SS.