ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Necrosis of the toes in scleroderma. Close-up of necrotic tissue (black) in the toes of a 56-year-old woman with systemic scleroderma. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own cells. It is characterised by a hardening of the skin. Scleroderma can affect any part of the body and be localised or systemic. Its cause is not known. There is no cure, but ointments and anti-inflammatory drugs can ease the symptoms. Tissue that has died due to a lack of blood supply may need to be surgically removed to avoid complications such as gangrene.
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