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Plaques of thickened skin on the back of a patient with diffuse systemic sclerosis. This is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own cells. Systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma, is a rare condition that results in the persistent hardening of the body's connective tissues. It can affect any part of the body and may be localised or spread throughout the body. Although there is no treatment, it often slows down or stops of its own accord. In a minority it eventually causes death.
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