June 2014 is Scleroderma Awareness Month

Did you know that June 2014 is Scleroderma Awarness Month? If not, I’m not surprised most people haven’t even heard of Scleroderma, not to2014_scleroderma_awareness_icon_1 mention Scleroderma Awareness Month.

According to the Scleroderma Foundation, Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own body.

Scleroderma means “hard skin.” It can cause  thickening and tightening of the skin. In some cases, it causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. As scarring, or sclerosis, of these organs and organ systems progress, they work less effectively, and can lead to organ failure and death.

Here are some quick facts about Scleroderma:

  • Approximately 300,000 Americans have scleroderma
  • An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people have systemic scleroderma
  • Approximately three to four times more women develop scleroderma
  • Scleroderma can affect any age group, but onset is most frequent between 25 and 55
  • 90 percent of people living with systemic scleroderma also have Raynaud’s Phenomenon, an autoimmune disorder in which there is constriction of blood vessels in the ears, nose, fingers or toes
  • Lung disease is a major cause of scleroderma-related deaths.

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