The nurse is caring for a patient suspected of having systemic scleroderma. The nurse explains to the patient that systemic scleroderma:

Causes weakness in the majority of patients.
Is an autoimmune disease that affects connective tissue.
Is characterized by inflammation, fibrosis, and sclerosis.


• Systemic scleroderma (also called systemic sclerosis) is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and sclerosis (hardening) of the skin, muscles, joints, lungs, kidneys, and heart

• Common symptoms include weakness, pruritus, Raynaud's phenomenon, difficulty swallowing, edema, tight skin, shortness of breath, fatigue, and hypertension

• Systemic scleroderma has a limited genetic link. It is believed to be triggered by exposure to chemicals or fetal cells circulating in the maternal blood

• Incorrect: It is not caused by SLE or triggered by an adenovirus

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