Scleroderma is a rare disease in which a person's immune system begins to destroy normal, healthy tissues (autoimmune disease). As a result, connective tissue of the skin, lungs, and internal organs—especially the esophagus, kidneys, and digestive tract—is replaced with scar tissue. This change causes the tissues to become stiff and the muscles to not work as well.
In the esophagus, this makes it:
- Easier for Reference stomach juice Opens New Window to get into the esophagus, because the valve between the esophagus and stomach (Reference lower esophageal sphincter Opens New Window) does not close tightly.
- Harder to move stomach juices out of the esophagus because the squeezing motion of the esophagus (peristalsis) does not work as strongly.
Reference CREST syndrome Opens New Window is a limited type of scleroderma that can also affect the esophagus.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference March 6, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology