Learn About Scleroderma

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My connection to the disease

Three years ago, my best friend's mom died from a disease called Scleroderma. When she was diagnosed, it was the first time I had heard of the illness. At first, I didn't realize how serious it was. Marlene was like my second mom. I grew up at their house as much as I did my own. She was a frail, naive, little woman from Columbia with the biggest heart of anyone I know. She taught me great lessons about strength, courage and patience.

Although the disease deteriorated her body more with each passing day, she kept her spirit up as much as she possibly could. She had to have dialosis three times a week in her home and could barely keep food down. But she was determined to see her daughter graduate from high school and she did. She watched us leave for college and four months later, she passed away.

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An Introduction to Scleroderma

Scleroderma, also know as systematic sclerosis, is a chronic, autoimmune disease of the connective tissue generally classified as one the rheumatic diseases. The symptoms may be either visible or invisible depending if the skin or only internal organs are affected. Symptoms may be mild or life-threatening.

The disease is not contagious, inherited, cancerous or considered malignant in any way.

About 300,000 persons in the United States have scleroderma. Approximately four times more women than men develop the disease.

The exact cause(s) of scleroderma are unknown. It is known that the disease process in scleroderma involves an over-production of collagen.

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There are two types of scleroderma.

Localized Scleroderma


Systemic Sclerosis


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Symptoms of scleroderma may include some of the following:


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All of the above information was found on the Scleroderma Foundation website.

This site created by Laura Biller