6 – Lung Involvement
A wide range of factors may cause lung involvement in systemic scleroderma. Some symptoms of lung involvement may include shortness of breath, a decreased tolerance for exercise, and a persistent cough.
Thickening of the lung tissue, fibrosis or scarring, may happen because of the overproduction of collagen that usually occurs in scleroderma patients. This makes it more difficult for oxygen to travel into the bloodstream. Also, weakening of respiratory muscles can decrease lung function.