Risk Factors for SclerodermaThe cause of scleroderma is still unknown. Scientists are working diligently to understand what biological factors contribute to scleroderma pathogenesis.
Genetic RiskScleroderma does not tend to run in families though genetics may play some role in the disease. Some researchers believe there may be a genetic predisposition to getting scleroderma. That does not mean, however, that if someone has scleroderma, his or her children are likely to develop it. There is research under way to study why some groups of people tend to have the disease more than other groups.
Family groups with scleroderma are very rare. If you are aware of a family who has more than one relative with scleroderma and is willing to be part of a study, please call the Scleroderma Research Foundation at 1-800-441-CURE 1-800-441-CURE .
Environmental RiskSome research suggests that exposure to some environmental factors may trigger scleroderma in people who are genetically predisposed to it, but evidence is far from conclusive.
Other RisksThe most striking statistics show that women in their childbearing years outnumber men with scleroderma by about 4-to-1.
There is likely no single risk factor for scleroderma. A number of scientific studies suggest that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may trigger the disease. Medical research is both time consuming and expensive. The Scleroderma Research Foundation continues to fund and facilitate the most promising research aimed at improved therapies and a cure.
URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/scleroderma.html
Also called: Circumscribed scleroderma, Dermatosclerosis, Morphea, Systemic sclerosis
Scleroderma means hard skin. It is a group of diseases that causes abnormal growth of connective tissue, the proteins that support your skin and organs. There are two main types. Localized scleroderma affects only your skin. Systemic scleroderma affects your blood vessels and internal organs, as well as your skin.
Symptoms of scleroderma include
- Calcium deposits in connective tissues
- Raynaud's phenomenon, narrowing of blood vessels in the hands or feet
- Swelling of the esophagus, the tube between your throat and stomach
- Thick, tight skin on your fingers
- Red spots on your hands and face
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
National Institutes of Health
- The primary NIH organization for research on Scleroderma is the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases