What is CREST?
CREST is a form of Systemic Sclerosis (scleroderma) which is characterized by Calcinosis (calcium deposits), usually in the fingers; Raynaud's;loss of muscle control of the Esophagus, which can cause difficulty swallowing; Sclerodactyly, a tapering deformity of the bones of the fingers; and Telangiectasia, small red spots on the skin of the fingers, face, or inside of the mouth. (Also see: What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma and Systemic Symptoms)
Calcinosis Raynaud's Esophagus Sclerodactyly Telangiectasia
It takes only two of the five CREST symptoms for a diagnosis of CREST (either "pure" or "plus") to be made. For example, a patient with Calcinosis and Raynaud's would have CREST (which for precision may also be written as CRest, but it is CREST nonetheless.)
The systemic forms of scleroderma can cause small white calcium lumps to form under the skin on fingers or other areas of the body.
This is called calcinosis . The lumps may break through the skin and leak a chalky white liquid.
These most commonly occur on the hands, or near joints such as elbows or knees, although they may appear anywhere.
Raynaud's is a vascular disorder commonly found in sclerodema. It is an extreme spasm of blood vessels in response to cold or stress. The fingers and/or toes become white and/or blue, and may become red on re-warming.
When the skin on the fingers become tight, stretched, wax-like, and hardened it is called sclerodactyly. Sclerodactyly is commonly associated with atrophy of the underlying soft tissues.
Telangiectasia are dilated superficial blood vessels