Scleroderma (skleer-oh-DUR-muh) is a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues — the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body. “Sclero” means “hard” and “derma” means “skin”.
Hardening of the skin is just one of many symptoms scleroderma sufferers experience. Stiff joints, digestive issues, lung scarring, kidney failure—all can result and sometimes be fatal. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease with no known cause and no cure. Research is vital, but because so few people are aware of the disease, researchers don’t always get the resources they need. Patients often find themselves becoming their only available expert.
The combined forms of scleroderma, including localized, systemic, recurring and related conditions, affect an estimated 300,000 Americans – primarily females who are 30 to 50 years old at onset. The overall occurrence is approximately 1 in 1,000, or .1% of the 328+ mi