Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the tissues and autoimmune diseases are defined as diseases that are caused because of the immune system attacking their own body cells. This is because the immune system is not able to differentiate between foreign bodies, viruses and infections present in the body from the cells of the body. Our body produces antibodies to fight infection each time we develop an infection. There are however cases of diseases of the immune system where the body produces antibodies that damage the tissues and cells of the body in the course of fighting the infection. Scleroderma is classified into two major groups: diffuse and limited. In case of diffuse or systemic sclerosis, the skin thickens in a symmetric pattern that immediately hardens after inflammation. A limited scleroderma is a condition limited to the skin on the fingers and face. Symptoms for scleroderma depend upon the extent as to how serious the condition is in a person.
Tests for scleroderma become even more important as it might be mistaken for arthritis or lupus. This disease can lead to serious health conditions and thus, diagnosing the same is of crucial importance. It primarily affects the skin due to inflammation and causes the skin to become red, swell, itch as well as pain and is often seen on a person’s face, neck, fingers and feet. If scleroderma has affected the esophagus, it leads to heartburn and may also cause difficulty in swallowing and pain that is felt in the centre of the chest. Scleroderma test helps to know if the disease has affected the lungs. This would lead to an inflammation which results in a shortened breath particularly after a rigorous activity. It is indicates if it has affected the colon while it may also result in the person suffering from constipation and also lead to cramps or diarrhea.
Your doctor may ask you not to consume anything a few hours before a blood test for scleroderma is conducted as you might not get accurate results. Be calm and if there are any queries that you have, you can talk to your doctor about them.
Blood tests for scleroderma are done by drawing blood from the vein that is put for further testing. The test helps in detecting the presence of autoimmune and antinuclear antibodies. Sometimes, there might be certain other tests that may be carried along with the blood tests to determine the accuracy of the results.