Living with Scleroderma

      Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a chronic disease that affects a person's connective tissue. It is an autoimmune rheumatic disease. The word "scleroderma" comes from the words: "sclero" meaning hard, and "derma" meaning skin. Joining us today to explain scleroderma is Denise Bates, President of the Oregon Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation along with Cynthia Hicks and Lindsey Gents who are living with the condition.

      The Scleroderma Foundation has 23 chapters and 150 support groups across the country. Call their toll-free hotline at (800) 722- 4673. Staff members answer questions offering access to essential support services and resources.

      Take part in one of our chapter or support group-hosted "Stepping Out to Cure" walk or run events to raise awareness about the disease and help raise important funding to support our programs. The Oregon event is 10:00 am Saturday July 12th at Happy Valley Grade School in Portland. Click here to register or find out more.

      Scleroderma affects about 300,000 people in the U.S. The number of people affected worldwide is unknown, but the disease has been reported all across the globe. Women are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop the disease than men.The disease commonly starts between the ages of 25 and 55, although there are patients of all ages. Scleroderma varies in symptoms and severity from patient-to-patient. Some scleroderma patients may have symptoms that are visible, such as tight skin. Other people may have invisible symptoms, where his/her internal organs (heart, lungs, liver, etc