Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon
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Scleroderma is an autoimmune, rheumatic, and chronic disease that affects the body by hardening connective tissue.
Only a few people get scleroderma, but no one really knows why.
Scleroderma is a rare disease. Fewer than 500,000 people in the United States have scleroderma. No one knows for sure why or how it develops. Some experts report that six out of seven patients are women. The most common age span for scleroderma to develop is between 35 and 50. Still, young children and older adults can get the disease.
Those with very widespread skin and organ involvement (systemic) have a negative prognosis. More women have scleroderma, but the disease kills more men. Following diagnosis, two-thirds of patients live at least 11 years. The higher the patients' age at diagnosis, the more likely they are to die from the disease.
People with scleroderma have very different life expectancies. Some—for example, those with limited or mild diffuse disease—can expect to live 20 to 50 years after diagnosis, just like anyone else. Others with severe, rapidly progressive disease—a group which makes up less than 10% of the total number of patients with diffuse scleroderma—might have a 50% chance of a five-year survival.