Risk Factors for Scleroderma

The cause of scleroderma is still unknown. Scientists are working diligently to understand what biological factors contribute to scleroderma pathogenesis.

Genetic Risk

Scleroderma does not tend to run in families though genetics may play some role in the disease. Some researchers believe there may be a genetic predisposition to getting scleroderma. That does not mean, however, that if someone has scleroderma, his or her children are likely to develop it. There is research under way to study why some groups of people tend to have the disease more than other groups.

Family groups with scleroderma are very rare. If you are aware of a family who has more than one relative with scleroderma and is willing to be part of a study, please call the Scleroderma Research Foundation at 1-800-441-CURE.

Environmental Risk

Some research suggests that exposure to some environmental factors may trigger scleroderma in people who are genetically predisposed to it, but evidence is far from conclusive.

Other Risks

The most striking statistics show that women in their childbearing years outnumber men with scleroderma by about 4-to-1.

There is likely no single risk factor for scleroderma. A number of scientific studies suggest that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may trigger the disease. Medical research is both time consuming and expensive. The Scleroderma Research Foundation continues to fund and facilitate the most promising research aimed at improved therapies and a cure.