Large Red Bumps on the Legs With Excess Collagen
Large red bumps on your legs without excess collagen may be as simple as a case of hives. However, if you do produce too much collagen, these symptoms can belong to a group of diseases known collectively as scleroderma. All types of scleroderma require careful medical attention. Some can be life-threatening.
Scleroderma is a collagen vascular disease and occurs in both systemic and localized forms. The term itself means hardened skin. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disorder as are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and others. In autoimmune disorders, some type or types of tissue in your body are attacked by your own immune system. "Stimulatory autoantibodies against platelet-derived growth factor appear to be a specific hallmark of scleroderma," according to "Ferri's Clinical Advisor."
Lumps can form under the skin from the excess collagen. These lumps are not always red. Rashes can occur on the hands and face. They may be red in color, and red tight skin on the hands is a common occurrence. In one form of scleroderma, calcium deposits can develop over bony prominences such as the knee. These deposits are not attached to the bone and can move toward the surface of the skin and become red lumps. They may eventually rupture the skin and cause infection.
In the localized form of scleroderma called morphea, red lumpy areas can appear anywhere on the body. The Scleroderma Research Foundation describes these areas as follows, "Symptoms include reddish patches of inflamed and discolored skin, usually on the chest or back, but sometimes on the face, arms and legs." Ulcers may appear on the legs in later stages of scleroderma. The cause for this is unknown, but it may be related to damage to the blood vessels.
Scleroderma, considered a rare disease, is more common in women, with about four times as many cases as in men, and usually begins between ages 30 and 50. It is not common in children. It is more common and more severe in Native Americans. African-Americans are not more prone to scleroderma, but may have worse symptoms. Scleroderma is found worldwide and there doesn't appear to be any link to where you live. City and rural dwellers are equally affected.
If you have scleroderma, red lumps on the legs may or may not happen and may be a separate disorder from the scleroderma. This group of related autoimmune disorders has a wide diversity of symptoms. Some patients may have only mild local symptoms and others may die from internal damage. Scleroderma is not a condition to diagnose or treat by yourself. You will need your family physician, a rheumatologist and possibly a dermatologist. You may require a pulmonologist for the severe lung condition that can be a part of the systemic form of the disease.
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