The week between June 12 and June 18 this year was marked as Scleroderma Awareness Week occurred between June 12 and 18. Scleraderma is an autoimmune condition that is characterized by thickness and tightening of the skin. The skin may look leathery and become darker in colour. The thickening of the skin may continue internally and may involve the internal organs such as the lungs and kidneys. Problems with these internal organs may include tightness, scarring, pain and inflammation.
Scleroderma is a chronic disease. Management of symptoms is typically the only treatment. Over a period of time, more serious effects, including internal organ damage, cardiovascular problems and joint problems may occur. All of these symptoms on their own or in combination with each other can make it difficult for a person to continue working at his/her regular job.
Make sure that you are aware of the symptoms of scleroderma, and get the symptoms checked out by your doctor as soon as they occur. The most important thing to know is that pain and stiffness are not necessarily the earliest symptoms. When the condition progresses, the deterioration in skin health could lead to catastrophic adverse health events such as cardiovascular events and renal failure. In some cases, people do not even realise that they suffer from scleroderma until the disease begins to affect the internal organs.