Information About Scleroderma
Scleroderma is characterized by skin that progressively becomes hard and thickened. It occurs when immune cells activate, producing scar tissue in the skin, internal organs, and small blood vessels. For some people, scleroderma (particularly the localized forms) is fairly mild and resolves with time. However, in more serious cases, the problem goes much deeper, affecting blood vessels and internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Women are three times more likely than men to develop scleroderma. It appears to be more common among African American women than other races, and a woman's risk of developing the disease is 15 times greater during her childbearing years.
(Click Scleroderma for more information about this condition, including how long it may take to receive a diagnosis.)