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The Doctor Is In: Scleroderma Awareness Month


The Doctor Is In:
Scleroderma Awareness Month


June is Scleroderma Awareness month. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin and connective tissue. Scleroderma causes hardening of the skin and in some patients, the connective tissue throughout the body. According to the Scleroderma Foundation, “Most patients do not have any relatives with scleroderma and their children do not get scleroderma.”  Latifah told People magazine after her mother was diagnosed last year, that the disease has caused pulmonary fibrosis (hardening connective tissue in the lungs) in her lungs, which impacts her ability to breathe. She also suffers from pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs) due to her illness. The Mayo clinic states that “Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly oocurs between the ages of 30 and 50.”

So what are some of the symptoms, treatments, causes, and complications? Read on.

What Are The Symptoms Of Scleroderma?

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*Skin – Most patients have hardening and tightening patches of skin. Skin may appear shiny and movement of the affected area may be restricted.

*Fingers or toes – Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is exaggerated response to cold temperatures can cause numbness, pain or color changes in the fingers or toes.

*Digestive System – Acid reflux is a common symptom of the disease. Absorbing nutrients maybe a problem if the intestinal muscles are affected by the disease.

*Heart, lungs or kidneys – If the disease affects these organs it can become life-threatening. Symptoms found here are rare.

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