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Scleroderma Causes

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I broke out with morphea after a very long stressful period in my life but one thing that always sticks out in my mind is my morphea actually popped out 3 weeks after starting chantix. Im not sure if that is coincidence either. Many people have really good luck with that med. but I stopped taking it right away thinking it was some alergic reaction. Sharon

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I find all of these stories fascinating. 1987 was a terrible year for me and my husband - people kept asking us how we were still standing. I lost my beloved grandfather, we had a sewage spill in the entire downstairs (den, office laundry room and basement) of our house, I had a miiscarriage, my son had pneumonia twice (he was 3) he had to be checked for cystic fibrosis, I had pneumonia twice, and I was involved in a car accident that triggered fibromyalgia.

Subsequent to 1987, my son who was a very difficult child from birth just continued to develop more issues. My husband and I worked very hard to deal with his issues - pychologists, meds, behavioral mod, the schools, boarding schools, psychiatrists. We were stressed all of the time. Our lives were beseiged daily. Ever since then I have suffered with the fibro and developed Raynaud's. In about 1997 the Raynaud's became very obvious. My gastro issues were in existence from the time of my son's birth. I had a second child in 1989 and with the fibro and other physical issues my life was very complicated and pressured. We wanted to protect our daughter from our sons issues and have her lead as normal a life as possible and at the same time give our son as much attention and love as he needed. My husband and I did not feel that we had any control over our home or work lives. We just we putting out fires daily.

I finally got around to showing my doctor my hands in 1997 and he took a blood test and my ANA was high with florescing centromeres. Between the Raynaud's, the gastro stuff and some spidery stuff on my face, coupled with the ANA I was confirmed with CREST.

Was it caused by my pregnancy? My trauma of the accident and then all of the stress? I was the infantry and often did not even tell my husband soe of the stuff going on with my son in the beginning because he was 40 minutes away at work and I was home. I started doing it as he got older and as the issues got more complicated. Not everyone with difficult kids who is in a car accident gets CREST - I believe that you have to be predisposed or your system has to be run down eough for the disease to find the conditions opportune to wreak havoc. So what do we do to protect ourselves so that this doesn't happen? It may be too late for a cure for us, but that is the question I would like answered so that perhaps I can stop the progression and maybe prevent others from suffering.

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This is an interesting thread! And we have tons more information on possible causes of scleroderma (pages and pages of it!) on the main site, Causes of Scleroderma. Topics covered there include -- in part --


What Causes Scleroderma?

Advanced Glycation Endproducts



--Cells and T Cells

Cluster Studies (Main Page)

--Cluster in South Boston


Dendritic Cells

Drugs and Medications


Environmental (Main Page)

--Artificial Joints & Breast Implants

--Drugs and Medications


--Mercury (Dental Amalgam)


--Silica Exposure


--Vinyl Chloride

Fetal Cells


Gluten Sensitivity

Homocysteine, MTHFR C677T Gene

Hormones and Chromosomes


Molecular Defect

Natural Killer Cells

Neuropeptides and Substance P

Oxidative Stress, Lipid Peroxidation Proteins

Serum TIMP-2

Sleep Disorders


Tissue Kallikrein



Vitamin D Deficiency

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Thanks everyone for your responses. It's interesting how the one common denominator here is stress, something we can't always control. Thanks Shelley for the list and Janey for the link. I also have a book that lists all the different autoimmune diseases and the possible causes and triggers, of which there are so many. Taking into account we all have different lifestyles, then the triggering factor would be different for everyone. Which leads me to question does everyone have the potential to develop an autoimmune disease? Or, are only certain people predisposed to the manifestation of an autoimmune disease?


I guess this is something I think about and hopefully in the future they'll develop a drug to reverse the activation or a preventive immunization for those who are predisposed.









You've been thru so much. I can somewhat relate withu. My eldest was always a difficult child since birth. I love her dearly but what I thought was temporary childhood behaviour evolved into a difficult adult. I was always trying to help her out. She's moved out and taken complete responsibility for herself. I've regained some of my sanity back! :blink:

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Thanks for your response. I am glad to hear about your daughter. I hope that it enables you to be less stressed and to recover and perhaps your disease will slow down and not progress at all. Maybe with a reduction of stress you can even go into complete remission. Reclaim your life a bit and start to do things you used to enjoy.

Your daughter's story gives me hope. My son lives in a condo we bought and hopes to graduate college next May and go to law school in the fall of that same year. He has cleaned up his act quite a bit, but he is still needy. My husband and I feel that kids today just grow up and become independent so much later than we did. I think that because of that we as parents are stressed more because we are called on to do more - we are squeezed more. We boomers are the sandwich generation - we have parents who are aging and require attention (although my husband and mine are still doing ok for the most part) and children who requie a lot of attention. That creates a lot of demands and stresses. That pushes the autoimmune button and for us I truly believe it triggered the disease.

Your little note made my day (night) thank you

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Yes it was stress for me too - I was 22 and had just left home for the first time, had moved to London and was struggling with homesickness. That's when the first symptoms appeared. I think stress has a huge effect on the appearance of symptoms but who can go through life without any stress?!

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I like your comparison of babyboomers being the sandwich generation. That's a great analogy but so true!


This past year has been the most peaceful than I can't even remember! Right now my disease is stable and under control. I'm glad you feel better too!





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Hi, like Jensue I got RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) first. I wasn't under any stress, I had a blood test and the needle hit the median nerve and caused the RSD. I had that for a few months then noticed everything starting to feel tight, muscles. tendons and skin. Blood test came back positive for systemic sclero. All the doctors said it was the RSD that brought on the sclero. Hugs, georgette

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Sandwiched is the right analogy. I so wanted more for my sons then I had gotten, that's where the mistake began. We strive, struggle and fight without asking why. That's from wanting for not being given everything. Okay, our kids won't have to suffer that, so we give all. Mistake; now they don't know what is to work for, earn and learn respect. What is the happy medium? I don't know. Just didn't want my kids to go through all the hard times like me...mistake.....




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Truman, I agree we don't want our children to experience perhaps what we went thru, so we do so much for them. They then believe this is the norm. If they only walked in our shoes. When my 2 daughters were in their mid-teens I nearly pulled all my hair out! :blink: Now, my youngest is the total opposite, doesn't need anything from me, not money or things. This isn't to say that she won't refuse a gift. She even helps me around the house. Things do balance out somehow. I just hope the best for both of them. We're moms for life!


Catherinechaos, Stress is a part of life, isn't it? I guess the secret is to find ways to either reduce, eliminate, change or accept it. Some things we cannot change. Some things we can. Like I divorced my ex back in '87 and a huge weight was lifted. :blink:


Georgette, That's interesting that in the mist of a blood test a misguided needle would open the door to RSD followed by scleroderma. I hope you're doing better now! Hugs back to you! :)




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Well, this is all amazing. I. like Tru was exposed to the mosquito truck, but my mom used to scream, "close the windows". We lived in Secaucus NJ, where the bugs are legendary.


My parents were abusive emotionally and physically. At age 18 I left home and never looked back. I put myself through college and got married to my party buddy out of fear of being alone after college.


Then I was married for 20 years to an alcoholic. Got ulcerative colitis during my third pregnancy 1991, while he worked away from home for three years. Had my colon removed after three years of suffering because I didn't want to stop nursing the baby. In the year after the operation I started with Raynaud's.


I had many more family problems which I won't go into here. I was hospitalized for a thoracic sympathectomy. Then, at my new job I fell on ice and broke my ankle and was laid up for two months. Got married, that summer '04, and the next year had gangrene, got diagnosed with sclero, lost the tip of a finger, and had my first heart attack. '05. Sclero progressed, I got laid off and have been out of work now for two years, then two years later I had two more heart attacks! That was last year, '07 and now it's menopause, what fun!! Stress? Yeah maybe. :P


Thankfully, I'm an amazingly laid back person. I take pretty much everything in stride. What can you do? Anyway, interesting stories, we are a bunch of amazing people for sure!


Peace, and I don't say that lightly!


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I am certain that stress in our lives exacerbates any condition we are faced with and also triggers many conditions, but it seems to me if the horrific things people go through were the direct causes of scleroderma, there would be a lot more people who suffered with it. I have had a lot of stressors over the years, but my symptoms first started during one of the most peaceful stretches of my life.


Of course none of us can be sure about these things, but for me, I think it was a series of events that confused my body's immune system into going into overdrive and then it just didn't stop. I had just had a complete hysterectomy (of course, the symptoms and diagnosis leading up to this were stressful in their own right) which went well and was recovering nicely. But there was a section of the 10" 'smile' which didn't close properly and didn't heal. When the staples were removed, it was evident that part of the edge had been turned under incorrectly, so the raw edges weren't joined. Once that was adjusted and closed with steri-strips, the healing progressed as it should. I went back to work as quickly as I could (in retrospect, not a great idea) and then took a trip home to visit my grandchildren in California, one of whom passed on a nasty upper respiratory virus to me. This combined with my weakened state and jet lag, caused my whole body to react with what I have now come to recognise as a flare. I never really got better and had to quit working two years later.


Environmentally, in the seventies I worked in direct contact with solvent chemicals (trichlorethylene) which are on the list, but I would have expected something to have happened sooner if that were the cause. Who knows.

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I really dont know, I had my children all by the age of 21. That is when I started having my raynauds flair ups. But since childhood I never felt good tired all the time. So I really dont know. We think I have had it long time before finally get the diagnosis. Who knows. Sam

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I have wondered about this issue many times. Stress I am sure doesn't help matters but I don't feel that my life was any more stressful than usual when I started to get sick. I really have no idea what caused my scleroderma. My wife has had a theory that frankly I have never bought into. At the time I had gotten sick I had been on one of the low carb diets for quite some time. She believes my diet had something to do with the onset of my illness. I know of no evidence that suggests a correlation, but who knows, maybe she is on to something. As far as I am concerned, I have no earthly idea what brought it on. There is no history of rheumatological diseases in my family. It is simply a mystery to me.

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You are an amazing and strong woman! To have gone through your experiences is truly extraordinary. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope you have found peace and happiness in your life! You deserve it! (The mosquito truck stories are really interesting.)




I agree with you that there has to be more to scleroderma than excessive stress being a cause to developing this condition. Stress is a part of life and based on that alone there would be astronomical amounts of people with autoimmune diseases.


You've had quite the ordeal with the surgery and healing. I hope you're enjoying a peaceful and serene life in Scotland!




Maybe we have the precursor to SD early in life and it lies dormant for many years. I'll be glad when more research is done on SD. Hope you're doing good and feeling great these days!



Hope everyone is having a fantastic day! Sending hugs your way!!




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