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June 29th is World Scleroderma Day

June 29th is World Scleroderma Day. Here we take a closer look at this rare form of arthritis.

Scleroderma affects the connective tissues of the body (that is tissues that hold together joints, muscles, blood vessels and internal organs).

Scleroderma can affect anyone at any age but is more common in women. Its estimated over 5,000 people in Australia live with Scleroderma. The exact cause is unknown and there is currently no cure.

Scleroderma is an autoimmune condition. The normal role of your body’s immune system is to fight off infections and diseases to keep you healthy. In an autoimmune disease like scleroderma, your immune system starts attacking your own healthy tissues.

In Scleroderma this means an excess production of collagen. This excess collagen causes hardening and tightening of the connective tissues affected. This could be your skin or other organs. In fact, the word ‘scleroderma’ means ‘hard skin’.

Scleroderma can impact all aspects of life and can cause difficulty with many everyday activities like chewing food or using your hands.

There are two major types of scleroderma:

  1. Localised or limited scleroderma. This form affects the skin and sometimes the tissues beneath it (e.g. muscle). This can lead to stiffness and difficulties moving the joints in the affected areas.  About 70% of people with Scleroderma have this type

 

  1. Systemic or diffuse scleroderma. This form can affect not just the skin but the connective tissues throughout the body, including blood vessels, joints, the digestive system and organs.

 

If you would like to learn more about Scleroderma  take a look at this short video from Scleroderma  UK https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=hb5YNWeGgiM

or click here www.arthritissa.org.au/arthritis-types/scleroderma

If you have been diagnosed with scleroderma and would like to speak with someone contact the HS team on 83795711 or info@arthritissa.org.au