What is Scleroderma?

Scleroderma is a chronic condition that affects connective tissues in the body and causes hardening of the skin as well as organ failure. Scleroderma often deeply affects peoples’ lives. However, Australian research has been improving outcomes for patients affected by this condition. For more information have a look at our fact sheet.
Scleroderma affects
6,000 Australians

Scleroderma is a costly condition, with hospitalisations, emergency presentations, medical and allied health consultations costing around AUD $64 million per year
An additional cost of around AUD $44 million per year results from loss of income due to reduced work capacity
Scleroderma causes hardening of skin and failure of internal organs
Heart-lung involvement is the major cause of premature death in scleroderma
Women are 7 times more likely to develop scleroderma than men, but the condition can be even more severe in men
Scleroderma can lead to poor quality of life
Scleroderma shortens life expectancy, with 23 years of life lost in women and 26 years of life lost in men
Sunflowers are often used as a symbol of scleroderma as those affected often feel more comfortable in warmth
Individuals with scleroderma who are screened for heart-lung complications at specialised clinics are treated earlier and have better outcomes

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