Disclosure – I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Scleroderma Awareness. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
While technically a skin disease, Scleroderma can also impact the lungs, kidneys and heart. The autoimmune disease presents itself in various ways and the effects range from mild to life threatening. Scleroderma can be localized, where it affects mainly the skin on the face, hands and feet, or it can be systemic where it affects the blood vessels and internal organs. People with systemic scleroderma run the highest risk of fatality of any connective tissue disease.
Most scleroderma patients aren’t diagnosed until they’re between 30 and 50, but the earlier they are diagnosed the better their prognosis and chance of survival so it’s important to know the symptoms in case you or loved ones experience any of them. Symptoms of scleroderma include hardening and tightening of patches of skin, exaggerated response to cold temperatures or emotional distress, which can cause numbness, pain or color changes in the fingers or toes, acid reflux and digestive problems, and scleroderma can also affect the function of the heart, lungs or kidneys.
I have a friend who suffers from scleroderma but I had never heard about the disease until I met her. She’s younger than me but the skin on her face is taut and sometimes people ask her if she’s had a face lift. She’s a beautiful woman but she’s self conscious about her skin and she worries how it will look as she ages. My friend is reminded of her scleroderma every time she looks in the mirror, but feels lucky that her case is localized and she doesn’t suffer from some of the worst symptoms.
If you’re like me you spend your days driving the kids around, worrying about dinner and the million other things you have to do. We rarely slow down and reflect on our own health and well-being. Now imagine having to do all you have to do while struggling with an illness like scleroderma.
There is no known cause and no known cure for scleroderma and because the disease is relatively rare researchers don’t always get the resources that they need to study scleroderma. Scleroderma affects only about 1 in 906 people, with 80% of those affected being women. Most people have never even heard of scleroderma – June is Scleroderma Awareness Month so please take the pledge to tell at least one other person about this disease with no cause and no cure to help spread awareness. You can make a difference with one simple click!