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Scleroderma or just excema?
Dec 29, 2005

I've been HIV+ since 1986. Most of my problems have always been skin related, (i.e. foliculitus, couple dozen planters warts, etc). Fortunately since the mid '90's my numbers have improved and most skin problems have vanished with the exception of what I thought was excema but am starting to think might be scleroderma based on sypmtoms I've read about. Skin on my hands gets hard, thickens, cracks and peels in very specific paterns, identicle on both hands. Moved to shoulders, upper arms and face a couple years ago, always the same spots. My hands have been very tender due to infections from the breaks in skin, steroid treatments thinning skin etc... I had carpel tunnel surgery last year thinking that would help but suprisingly it only helped the carpel tunnel (d'oh!). My Dermatologist has been treating me with various excema treatments monthly for several years but the pain and stiffness in my hands is getting worse and nothing seems to help the skin. I've read that Scleroderma is often hard to diagnose because it looks like other conditions. Any suggestions?

Response from Dr. Henry

Scleroderma is often accompanied by other medical problems (like Raynaud's phenomenon= fingers/toes turning blue/white with exposure to cold temps, swallowing difficulties, etc). A rheumatolgist is often the best consultant to involve if scleroderma is being considered as a diagnosis. In my experience many HIV+ patients have severe eczema which is difficult to clear up but what you describe sounds like more than that so further evaluation may be warranted. KH



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