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Covid or Scleroderma?

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I'm wondering whether anyone has seen any studies on similarities between the two (I know, it would have been quick to get research done and published!)


Last spring I was really ill, now the Covid symptoms have been updated it may have been that as I had the muscle aches, joint pain, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell?  Developed a rash rising up my legs, painful finger tips that then cracked (deep) and the skin on my palms thickened and peeled.  I was also very tired, etc.


Towards the end of the year I had some tests at the hospital positive ANA PM-SCL.  The clinician said connective tissue disease/scleroderma.  I was quickly put on prednisolone hydroxychloroquine and later methotrexate.  The methotrexate I only took 3 doses - it made me so very ill.  So it's now nearly 3 months since I stopped methotrexate.  I have also been treated for bacterial and long-term fungal infections and these have cleared.  Haven't taken the prednisolone or hydroxychloroquin since mid-Dec as there was an error with my prescription.  I haven't got the rash back, or the sore fingers/lesions on my hands.  Just tiredness, aching joints, muscle weakness and hands a bit swollen in the morning (like when I had carpal tunnel).  Scans of organs, etc all clear.  The consultant said take all meds again.  However, the nurse said it might have been Covid, especially if I feel much better now and haven't noticed problems from no medication.  Hence me wondering if anyone knows of any studies!  

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Hi Storm,


Welcome to these forums.


I'm sorry to hear that you've been experiencing unpleasant symptoms and are worried about a possible diagnosis of scleroderma.  I've found an article to give you a little light reading : The systemic sclerosis patient in the COVID-19 era: the challenging crossroad between immunosuppression, differential diagnosis and long-term psychological distress which does seem to suggest that there are similarities between the symptoms of scleroderma and covid-19, particularly when the lungs are involved.


Scleroderma is a complex disease, which is very difficult to diagnose and can mimic other diseases; it is possible to have positive blood tests and yet never go on to develop the full blown disease and vice versa, as many of our members can testify. Far more important are the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease.


We do recommend that our members, if possible, consult a listed scleroderma expert, to ensure that this complicated disease is treated correctly, by someone with the correct knowledge and expertise.


Please note that I have no medical training, so would suggest that the best  person to advise in your particular case is your scleroderma expert/rheumatologist.


Kind regards,



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Many Thanks Jo.  I've just read the abstract of the article and it will certainly make for interesting reading this evening.  It seems quite complex to tease out with lots of overlap between so many conditions (Scleroderma alone seems complex!)  I certainly have huge respect for those managing the condition.  


Thank you also for the links in your post and for the advice.  Unfortunately, I don't live near any of the specialists listed so just need to decide whether to take all the intense medications the doctor recommended (because it might be scleroderma), or keep on with the 'possibly Covid, so wait and see' approach!

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