How Serious is Scleroderma?


Even though scleroderma affects around 2.5 million people worldwide including 300,000 people in the U.S., it’s a disease that few people know about. The rare autoimmune disease affects the skin and internal organs, but just how serious is it?

We’ve put together some information that explains how serious the disease can be, who it affects and how it’s treated using information from Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK.


The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly as it can affect many different parts of the body. Some have a mild form of the disease where only the skin is affected, while in other more severe cases, it can be a life-threatening condition where multiple organs are affected.

The most common symptom is the hardening of the skin due to an overproduction of collagen. This can lead to mobility issues, shrinkage of the mouth area, and losing the ability to use your hands. Many systemic scleroderma patients may also have problems with the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and digestive system.

Find out more about scleroderma from diagnosis to symptoms. 

Causes and Risks

There is no known cause of scleroderma. Women are four times more likely to develop the disease than men and it’s more likely to strike women during their childbearing years. Children can also develop scleroderma, though it tends to be a milder form of the disease that only affects the skin.

Familial scleroderma is rare, but there is evidence that the disease may be due to genetics. There’s nothing that suggests certain races are more prone to scleroderma or that where you live plays any factor.


There is currently no cure for scleroderma. Treatment for scleroderma depends on the parts of the body affected and how severe the disease is. Typically, a scleroderma patient will need to see a variety of doctors specializing in various fields and may need to undergo surgical procedures. Patients can manage their symptoms through a combination of medication,  physical therapies, diet and complementary medicines.

Find out how stem cell treatment works for scleroderma here. 

Scleroderma News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Susan Cash says:

    I’m sure you receive a ton of emails that claim to have this disease and it’s cure. I would really like to share my story with someone in the medical field that is studying Scleroderma. I was originally diagnosed with MS in September 2015. In October 2016, I was hospitalized with bronchitis and pneumonia. The Dr’s spent a week trying to clear up my lungs but was not successful. After a week, I was sent to my physician who then sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist began bloodwork which showed the SCL-70 antibody and ANA TITER abnormal. My white and red blood counts were high. When I received this bloodwork, I began my own research to find there not to be a cure and speculative on the treatments because on top of everything else I am allergic to the normal treatment of steroids. So my research showed a few success stories through a clean, chemical free diet, Turmeric, dairy free, 100% CBD oil, caffeine free, all organic. I also use essential oils of Frankincense and Eucalyptus. I went to a rheumatologist who asked me if I would be able to maintain this diet and lifestyle. I stated “did I have a choice?” She put away her prescription pad and proceeded with further testing. Now, keep in mind, that I received the initial bloodwork November 10th 2016. January 19th is when the additional bloodwork was performed that confirmed the scleroderma. She performed the bloodwork again in February 2016. She sent me to a cardiologist, pulmonary dr and gastrointestinal dr. The gastro dr knew that the diet and lifestyle change that I had made. He asked if I had heard of Turmeric. I said that i was using it in everything that I ate. I would sprinkle this over my food. He asked me if I was willing to try something that he was researching to add in this disease and the inflammation. I of course agreed if it was functional medicine. He asked me to boil one cup of water and stir 1 tablespoon of Tumeric in the boiling water. This allowed the Turmeric to release the natural treatment of Curcumin. I added this to my recipe. The lung dr found 3 nodules on my lungs that are minimizing. The gastro dr found the inflammation in my colon to me diminishing and all my bloodwork but the antibody had gone back to normal. This has been 47 days and the neuropathy, the off-balance, the gastro pain, the breathing issues are reducing significantly. I understand that every body is different. But I truly believe that this “recipe” has done an incredible job of slowing down this dreadful disease. I would love to know that my story is shared and helps at least one other person.

    • Sheila Stephens says:

      I have been taking Turmeric in tablet form for a couple of months now and Im sure its helping my Scleroderma and my Arthritis. As I am allergic to NAIDS I am delighted with the out come. As I live in Townsville there is no support group up here, and the Medical Professionals are not well imformed.

    • Jatta kailie says:

      Hey Susan, thank you very much for sharing. I have recently been diagnose with Scleroderma myositis few weeks ago but according to the signs and symptoms that I read online, I think i have had it for pretty long time but it just now that I have been diagnosed by my rheumatologist. I have been an RA patient for 4 and half years and now scleroderma and i am only 24. My mom and I have agree on changing diet I eat quinoa instead of rice and fish with lots of herbs like ginger, turmeric, and lots more. however am going to follow your recipe of boiling water and adding 1 teaspoon of turmeric. i was just wondering do you take it on an empty stomach and also the 100% CBD oil where would i get that to add it up to my diet maybe that would help with my joint pain and morning stiffness.

  2. Susan O. says:

    Thank you for sharing. I do not discount your successful use of turmeric. I must caution you that scleroderma symptoms seem to wax and wane, flare and go into remission. There is NO magic bullet. The problem with this disease is that when it does start to go into symptom remission, WHATEVER the person is taking or doing at the time gets credited with “causing” the remission. I have had scleroderma as a diagnosis for 13 years. I had symptoms for at least 5 years prior to the diagnosis. As a patient, I have learned that the absolute worse thing for this disease is stress and the medical profession who are ignorant of this extremely complex disease. I advocate treatment at a major scleroderma clinic initially, and once you have gained some knowledge of your symptoms and the disease you must go on to educate your caregivers. Remember, you only get one you. You are your OWN best advocate. The doctors don’t KNOW about this disease.

    Susan J. Oleneack RN

    • Sharon Harris says:

      I have to agree i had the paramedics out this wk end not one of them had heard of Scleroderma its a nightmare

  3. Laura Mollrich says:

    How true Sharon! While eating lunch one day all of a sudden the food WOULD NOT go down. I swallowed water, tried to stretch my throat, and tried to cough it up. Nope, wasn’t happening so I dialed 911 trying to explain while choking, what was going on. A fire truck and ambulance showed up with 6 paramedics. I said I have Scleroderma and they all looked at each other like I was from Mars!

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