Scleroderma can cause serious damage to:
As such, it is often called a multi-system condition. It can be life-threatening.
Scleroderma is not contagious, infectious, cancerous or malignant.
Scleroderma varies widely in different patients, with some having only very minor problems, while others can have a very serious illness. The majority of patients has the milder condition.
There are two types of scleroderma – limited and diffuse. The extent of skin involvement is used to divide patients into these two groups.
Diffuse scleroderma can affect the skin on the hands, forearms, trunk, upper arms and thighs. Patients with this condition often have a more systemic condition affecting other organs and tissues. They can require more intensive treatment. Approximately 30% of patients have the more diffuse form.
Although most patients can be classified as having either limited or diffuse scleroderma, different people may have different symptoms or combinations of symptoms.
Scleroderma affects both sexes, but it is three to four times more common in women.
It can occur at any age, with the peak incidence between 40 – 60 years. It is rare in children.
It has been reported in most countries throughout the world and in most racial groups. It is less common in Africa and Polynesia.
The condition is not inherited at birth and it only rarely occurs in more than one member of a family.
Hear from Dr Jo Sahhar and Specialist Scleroderma Nurse Kathleen Elford talking about their experiences of working with Scleroderma Patients.
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