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Causes of Scleroderma

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My research has come up with the following possibilities - anyone noted any others?


Vinyl chloride

Heavy metals - Lead, mercury, zinc




Flu vaccine or other immunisations

Bacteria & virus's


Drugs & medications



I wonder too about fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.


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Hi Dimarzio,


The cause of scleroderma is generally unknown, however areas being investigated include autoimmunity, environmental exposures, genetics, and infections. Many researchers feel that several factors work together to induce scleroderma, such as a genetic inclination along with exposure to a toxin or infection which triggers the illness.


We have a medical page Causes of Scleroderma, which I hope you'll find interesting and informative.


Kind regards,

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Hi Dimarzio.....I chuckled to myself when reading your causes. That's life....that's living....I thought


Seriously, though, I have been second guessing Gareth's medical issues since he was born.

I did everything right before and during my pregnancy, yet he was born with Down Syndrome.

He appeared so high functioning mentally and physically, that the DS wasn't really a problem.

Then, he went downhill developmentally....autism was the diagnosis at age 4-5, back when autism was 1/5000

kids. Now, it's 1/100 kids. Where did his immune deficiencies come from? Where did the scleroderma/UCTD

come from? Our only genetic background, family wise, was dad's rheumatoid arthritis. I use to work

in the hospital labs/morgue, before the boys were born....use to be around a lot of Xylene, formaldehyde, etc.



I do believe a lot of medical issues come from generations of technology/advancements messing up all of our genes.

An example....think about back in the early '50-60's. TV dinners were the new rage...put in brand new microwave

ovens. There was no FDA or quality control gurus. No one knew what was in the saran wrap that covered the meals

or the output of the microwave. Women have been using cosmetics, hair coloring, and nail polish/acetone removal

long before the government stepped in with chemical regulations. What about the deodorant (chemicals) that we

use daily under our arms? Preservatives were sprayed on apples for years before they found it caused cancer and

other medical issues. Smoking was the *in thing* ..... *cool thing* back when my dad was growing up in the 40-50's.

I remember helping to pull asbestos siding off the old farmhouse.....long before it was know to cause Mesothelioma.


I have given up trying to think of causes for illnesses....for Gareth and myself. It's life and I'm not 6 feet under!!! I do

not regret technology or advances in the medical field....in fact, I usually embrace anything that makes my life easier!!!

It's a good topic for discussion. I'd love to hear other people's thoughts/ideas.


Take care, Everyone


Mom to Gareth, 27 years old, DS/ASD

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Also read several articles saying stress could trigger auto immune diseases.


I also wonder whether lf the radio waves from mobile masts and wifi in our homes is doing us any good long term.


None of the studies seem to have shown any links to lifestyle, but you never know.

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Hi Dimarzio,


How about this to confound your statistics.


I grew up in the 1950's my Mother prepared everything we ate except for special treats very rarely when we were allowed sixpence to buy our own lunches at the local dairy.   We live in NZ so no such thing as school dinners and the dairy was a shop which sold dairy foods, of course, plus a few baked goods and lots of sweets.   A cream donut or a meat pie was more or less all we had to choose from.   I remember Chicken Noodle Soup becoming available and we thought it was the worst thing we had ever tasted.


There was no Wifi, cellular telephones or other greeblies in the air.   Most of us didn't even have a landline telephone, communications between kids were plans made on the way home after school and bikes were our mainstay.   I was sent down the road to the public call box to phone Dad to ask what time he would be home for dinner.


So in spite of all this I developed my first symptoms of Sclero when I was about 14 or 15.   Terrible stomach pains which were explained away as colic once a Barium Swallow had shown nothing.   By the time I was 22 I had Raynaud's and stomach involvement.


Nothing amongst all the things suggested or listed anywhere as a cause for Sclero had ever come into my life.   I can't even blame starting to travel outside NZ when I was 20 because I already had the stomach stuff.


I realise that maybe some instances might be traced back to environmental causes but for me at least I can only blame a genetic pre-disposition.


Best wishes from the upside down side of the world,


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All of this takes me back to the seventies to a song with the line, "Paranoia the destroyer", which I think of as, "Paranoia will destroy ya." . I prefer not to worry about it, just live my life. I got squared a month, there's not much I can do about it but take my medications and I live life. I prefer not to worry about what caused it, or who caused it. I think that will be a never-ending argument as to what caused it. I was a truck driver, I was in diesel fumes all my life, so maybe that was it.


Have a good day. Blessings always.

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You ask how I dealt with my stomach involvement. The answer to that has to be that I didn't. The barium swallow showed nothing so that was that!!


As the years went by I had bouts of discomfort which I assumed must be stress related because there was patently nothing WRONG with my tummy.

The doctors had said so and you didn't argue with the doctor in those days.


When I was in my mid 40's I suddenly found it hard to swallow. Things like sandwiches and other dryish/solid foods would park themselves somewhere above my diaphragm. I went to my general practitioner who, of course, feared a cancerous tumour or the like. Next visit was to a Gastroenterologist who booked me in for my first Endoscopy. He discovered a narrowing of the Oesophagus which I couldn't explain because as far as I knew I had no reflux/heartburn. Anyway he did a dilation and pronounced me cured of that problem. No suggestion of what might have been the cause, just go on your way and forget all about it but take a medication called Axid for the rest of my life. Years later a sharp Pharmacist suggested I change to Omeprazole and that is still the case today.


2003 I was on holiday and staying with relatives when I had the most dreadful night, worse than I had ever experienced before. It was as if a volcano was going off in my stomach. By morning I was vomiting 'coffee grounds' and my cousin took me to the local hospital. That was where the Scleroderma diagnosis was made 45 years after the first childhood symptom.


Over the ensuing years I have had regular endoscopies, had a partial gastrectomy because of GIST growths, and continued taking Omeprazole twice a day. My Oesophagus has gradually succumbed to the disease and now I have what they call Aclasia where there is no peristalsis at all, gravity and careful eating is the only way my food eventually makes it to the stomach. I still rarely have any physical discomfort and in fact can get to the point of vomiting whole blood and being whisked off by ambulance to the hospital with almost no warning. I usually feel seedy (more so than usual) for an hour or two and then it is suddenly emergency stations!!


I frequently consider that I may end up with a total gastroparesis and on tube feeding but so far I am doing OK.


I have been lucky to find a lovely Gastroenterologist at the local hospital, she understands absolutely and has even got to the point ot texting me!! No other doctor. I have met in our fabulous health system has ever got that close.


Best wishes,


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