Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease. Depending on the type, it can be one of the most horrific diseases imaginable, showing up on
many top 10 worst disease lists.Severity of symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Unfortunately, scleroderma is rare enough
that it does not get the attention that it should. A type of scleroderma, systemic scleroderma (sometimes called systemic sclerosis) can impact
the entire body's connective tissue and often comes in conjunction with Raynaud's syndrome. The following is from Mayo Clinic:
Scleroderma (skleer-oh-DUR-muh) is a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues —
the fibers that provide the framework and support for your body.
In some people, scleroderma affects only the skin. But in many people, scleroderma also harms structures beyond the skin — such as blood
vessels, internal organs and the digestive tract. Signs and symptoms vary, depending on which structures are affected.
Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50---but it also can affect children.
While there is no cure for scleroderma, a variety of treatments can ease symptoms and improve quality of life. (from Mayo Clinic's website)
The Scleroderma Foundation is an excellent resource for information on the disease and has helped raise awareness for this rare and
challenging disease. The Scleroderma Foundation is one of the most effective and trustworthy charities, receiving extremely high marks from
watchdog groups for their use of donated funds.
The Black Hills Scleroderma Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30PM at the Rapid City Public Library (meetings end
by 7PM). The group is open to anyone and is free. You can come in at any time. Some food may be provided (pizza). Educational information
on scleroderma will be made available at the group.
The "Video Links" page has important information on various scleroderma topics.
Artist Paul Klee suffered from scleroderma and his late work, such as "Death and Fire" are inspired by his struggles. Read more about it below.
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