What causes scleroderma?

The cause of scleroderma is still unknown, but is known about how a condition develops, as specialist Prof. Chris Denton explains:

To find out more about disease progression watch Prof Chris Denton's full presentation on the SRUK website: sruk.co.uk/scleroderma/what...

What do you think causes scleroderma?

6 Replies

I think the cause is highly likely to be linked to Raynauds. But that's just mine and my observed in others thoughts.


I have a feeling it could be something to do with chemicals. I worked as a Saturday girl in dry cleaners when I was 16 where perchoathlene was used. Although there was plenty of ventilation, you could still smell it. By the time I was 21 I was diagnosed with Rhematoid Arthritis, but never found in blood tests, but joints were bad. That was 40 years ago and as a youngster I improved, however I was very ill 3 years ago and developed Systemic Sclerosis. I do think there could be a link.



I seem to agree with you. It’s got something to do with chemicals. I never smoke, drink very little, did running and like many of us, tried to look after our selves. I’m 54yo and I did cleaning jobs when I was 40 for 10 yrs. During these years I suffered from terrible reflux & IBS. I quit cleaning when I hit the big 5’0’. Shortly after, I had Raynauds followed by vitiligo. Spring of 2015, I went to a private Rheumy and I was diagnosed with limited scleroderma. My GP then referred me to the NHS consultant and in May 2017, after many blood tests &skin biopsy I was diagnosed with diffuse systemic scleroderma. None of my immediate family members past and present had an auto immune disorder. I can only put it down to the cleaning chemicals that i inhaled and inadvertently touched.


Hi Maharlika,

It very odd sounds strange what you say about chemicals too. Maybe there is something there.

I don’t have any relatives with Scleroderma but have 2 sisters with MS (they’ve had it for over 40 years), another autoimmune disease.

Take care


Never had Raynauds in my life before ..now have secondary through having Sys. sclerosis. Never worked with chemicals either....I only became diagnosed with Sys. sclerosis after my second bout of pneumonia and in hospital when a doctor called a rheumatologist in to see if she could shed light on my blood tests...she took a look at my feet...? and nodded knowingly to the doctor who had come with her...then told me she believed I had scleroderma. This was later confirmed after lots of different tests were completed.

Anyway, the only thing that I can think of that may have been the possible cause of my illness was severe stress - the impact on my own health when my husband almost died ...he had been very seriously ill and bed bound for a long period which resulted in his being rushed into hospital with almost complete organ failure...he is fine now, but not long after the relief of his successful treatment and recovery then his coming home a few weeks later ... I slowly started to decline in health with my doctor stumped as to what was going on with my symptoms. There is no-one else in my family who has ever been diagnosed with Sys. sclerosis.

It is a weird illness this Scleroderma that affects us who have it in many different ways ..some of us may have the same symptoms- but not all exactly matching. For example...mine is ..lung damage also swallowing problems - swollen and painful joints. but I have read of so many others on here having lots of other symptoms with skin tightening etc. that I do not have. Can only imagine that it is a mystery as to each individual Sys. sclerosis cause. Very weird!


My partner has scleroderma diagnosed at 12, 7 years later his mother was diagnosed with lupus then later rheumatoid arthritis, this has made me believe it can be passed on in families (maybe not the exact disease but all rheumatoid related). Although no other family history of any kind of these diseases.

Very strange so many different cases


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