Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by toughening most commonly in the skin and could also happen to other organs. The mild form of this known as morphea, although it can cripple its patients would tend not to be fatal. Another form of this which is systemic sclerosis, since it would affect the skin as well as would limit the functions of the affected organs could be fatal. As of now, there is no exact cause of this disease and most doctors would go by theories.
Scleroderma is found worldwide however; women are about four times as likely to have it more than men. This would also develop mostly between the ages of 30 and 60. The disease is quite rare as affecting only 14 out of every 1 million individuals worldwide. This disease also rarely affects children. This disease is quite evident among the native American Choctaw tribe and African-American females.
What Causes Scleroderma?
The cause of scleroderma still remains unknown, although medical experts have developed various theories on the causes of it. Some have said that it is largely genetic so if an individual has scleroderma, he puts his relatives at risk of having it. Others would say that it is environmental and is brought about by unwanted factors in the environment such as virus, bacteria and other similar factors. However, non of these theories are proven yet.
The result of this is that the immune system, instead of protecting the body would attack the tissues in the body causing the development of scar tissue on the affected areas. Although different cases of scleroderma would cause different symptoms, the most common ones would be the Raynaud’s phenomenon which would refer to the spasms of arteries supplying blood to the fingers, toes and face. For systemic scleroderma, this is coupled by limitation in the organ’s function.