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Scleroderma Foundation - Northern California Chapter

Scleroderma Foundation - Northern California Chapter

The Scleroderma Foundation Northern California is one of 24 chapters of the National Scleroderma Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located outside of Boston, Mass. The Foundation’s mission is three-fold: Support: To help patients and their families cope with scleroderma through mutual support programs, peer counseling, physician referrals, and educational information. Education: To promote public awareness and education through patient and health professional seminars, literature, and publicity campaigns. Research: To stimulate and support research to improve treatment and ultimately find the cause of and cure for scleroderma and related diseases.

Scleroderma is a chronic, autoimmune connective tissue disease, and the word scleroderma literally means hard skin. Common symptoms include hardening and thickening of the skin, one of the most visible manifestations of the disease. Other symptoms include Raynaud’s disease (abnormal sensitivity to cold in the extremities), swelling of the hands and feet, pain and stiffness of the joints, joint contractures, digestive system and gastrointestinal tract problems, oral, facial and dental problems, and kidney, heart and lung involvement. Characteristics of the disease include an over-production of collagen and damage to blood vessels.

Approximately 300,000 people in the United States suffer from scleroderma. Scleroderma primarily affects women between the ages of 25 and 55. There is currently no known cause or cure. The

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