June, 2014: Scleroderma Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Scleroderma is a chronic, disabling autoimmune disease in which the body’s soft tissues suffer from an overproduction of collagen. Scleroderma can affect many parts of the body including skin, internal organs, and blood vessels; and

WHEREAS, Scleroderma sufferers often experience damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and the gastrointestinal system. Many sufferers develop pulmonary hypertension as a result of constriction of the blood vessels; and

WHEREAS, African Americans are more susceptible to systemic scleroderma; and

WHEREAS, Researchers have yet to identify the exact cause or causes of scleroderma. Researchers have found links between scleroderma and rheumatic disease; and

WHEREAS, An estimated 300,000 Americans suffer from scleroderma, and 80 percent of those are women; and

WHEREAS, The estimated total economic impact of scleroderma treatment is estimated to be in excess of $1.5 billion annually. The morbidity cost associated with scleroderma is an estimated $819,000,000 annually. The direct cost of treatment for scleroderma is estimated to be $462,000,000 annually; and

WHEREAS, There is a significant need for further research focusing on the epidemiology of scleroderma to increase understanding of the causes of the disease and its treatment; and

WHEREAS, it is important to educate the public about autoimmune diseases and the need for increased research, funding, and effective treatments for those diseases; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June, 2014 as Scleroderma Awareness Month in Michigan.