Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis or SSc) is a largely misunderstood chronic disease affecting about approximately 22,000 Canadian and five to six times more women than men are affected by this disease.
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease, a condition in which a person’s immune system turns against itself by producing antibodies that attack its own tissues (i.e. autoantibodies).
This disease is derived from the Greek words “skleros” (hard) and “derma” (skin) and is characterized by progressive skin hardening.
Scleroderma is characterized by an overproduction of collagen and damage to the blood vessels that causes excessive scarring within the various organs. This imbalance leads to a hardening of the skin (fibrosis) and an alteration of the affected organs. Moreover, in most cases, scleroderma limits the motor skills and dexterity of those affected and causes great physical and psychological suffering since it produces disfiguring appearance-related changes. Read more