Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that is often undiagnosed for years. It is also classified as a rheumatic and connective tissue disease and causes inflammation throughout the body. The skin of a Scleroderma patient is often affected by inflammation, but it is the internal organs, joints, and connective tissues that often bear the brunt of the condition.
The immune response caused by this disease tricks the tissues in the body into thinking they are injured. As a response to that perceived injury, they produce inflammation for protection and healing. The inflammation produces collagen, and that results in patches of skin that are hard and tight and/or collagen build up (scar tissue-esque) in joints and organs. This can be very painful, and result in reduced quality of life and difficulties with activities of daily living.
There are two types of scleroderma. One is localized and only affects the skin and structures directly underneath it. The other is systemic, and affects the entire body. Often this causes damage to internal organs such as kidneys, lungs, and the heart, and can also damage blood vessels.
The systemic type of Scleroderma is much more severe, and can cause significant harm to the internal organs. That's especially true if it's not diagnosed early on, or if it's not treated properly after diagnosis.
Issues with Scleroderma are three-fold. They affect the connective tissue that supports and provides structure, and the autoimmune problems mean that the body's immune system is attacking healthy tissue. Additionally, scleroderma is also a rheumatic disease that leads to pain and inflammation.
There is no specific, known cause for this condition. Women are diagnosed with it more often than men, and it's most commonly seen in people who are between 30 and 50 years of age. Genetics and environmental triggers can both be present in patients, but there isn't a definitive cause.
Because Scleroderma involves so many areas of the body, monitoring and early diagnosis are very important. Treatment involves slowing disease progression and reducing symptoms, but there is no cure. Improving quality of life is possible with the right treatments, and slowing the progression of damage from the disease can mean a better future for those who have scleroderma.
The Scleroderma Research Foundation is the largest nonprofit investor in Scleroderma research in the United States. It was founded by a woman who suffered from the disease and they do important, tireless work.
Between November 1st and November 15th we will be donating 15% from every sale to The Scleroderma Research Foundation! We will also have a donate button on our website and 100% of those funds will go as well. Don’t need your knives sharpened now but want to pitch in? If you donate between these dates, we will send you a coupon code for when you are ready to sharpen. We truly appreciate you taking the time to read this and can’t wait to raise some money!
Until next time,