June 2016: 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, 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 them are women; and,

WHEREAS, the 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 million annually. The direct cost of treatment for scleroderma is estimated to be $462 million 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;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim June 2016 as Scleroderma Awareness Month in Michigan.