Within the busy race of life, it’s rare that one stops to think about what kind of diseases his or her body can become infected with. The battles we fight within our everyday life seem to be the focus of our attention until one day, the person in the small group of the population that contracts a life debilitating disease is us. Taking a stand to be a part of society that fights for the cure will enable us to fund programs that research these diseases, diseases that have the same possibility of affecting us or our loved ones as anyone else. The study of new or rare diseases bridges people together and reaches closer to curing outcomes. Awareness is essential in becoming a part of disease prevention and spreading knowledge around the globe. Social responsibility is a role we all lose track of from time to time, in the hustle and bustle of trying to survive work and kids and bills. Remembering how important those things are to us, and how worthless the daily struggle is if we lose it all, can help us reach out a hand to those suffering while reaching out that same hand to our future selves and loved ones, to avoid those same struggles. American College of Nursing (ACN), is proud to participate in Scleroderma Month by promoting Scleroderma prevention and control. Step up and join the fight. Walk humbly alongside a stranger, hand in hand, and together the fight will result in a cure. One person at a time, one cure at a time, it’s you.
This month, the beautiful sunny month of June, most of us feel untouched by the hardships of life. The sun emits its rays into our bodies, warming our souls and splashing smiles upon our faces. For some though, the road is not so cloudless. This month the highlighted disease of awareness is, Scleroderma. This rare disease affects 300,000 randomly picked Americans, some of whom endure this disease’s threat to life. “Scleroderma, derived from the Greek words “sclerosis,” meaning hardness, and “derma,” meaning skin, is another autoimmune disorder, (Partners, 2012, para. 2).” When this disease selects a host it starts the over production of collagen, the fibrous protein that makes up the bodies connective tissue. For some, the effects are only on the outside skin. For others hardening of the skin, and all epithelial layers of the body debilitates essential life organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. More often than not this disease will localize to the outer skin layer, where symptoms often include hardening of the skin, hair loss, skin with light or dark patches, sores on the fingertips and toes and thickening, tightening or stiffness in the forearms, hands and fingers. People may have lumps beneath the skin that sometimes ooze a white substance with a toothpaste-like consistency. The facial skin may appear tight and mask like, according to the National Institutes of Health. People suffering from systemic scleroderma, which affects internal areas of the body, may experience joint pain, stiffness and swelling of the fingers, wrist pain, dry cough, shortness of breath, constipation, bloating after meals, diarrhea and difficulty swallowing, and ultimately their organs will shut down resulting in fatality.
The affects of this disease can range drastically from one person to the next, and ethnic or genetic factors may determine the likely-hood of developing this disease, but there is no proven evidence they do. Woman more than men (a one to four percentage) and most commonly between the ages of 35-55 are the only clues we have as to who has the higher percentage of being attacked by this crippling disease.
Mother, father, daughter, son, athlete, doctor, world explorer, student; whoever you are and however you live your life, disease can always come and roost inside your nest, and change your body and life into a frightening and foreign place. Awareness surrounding disease control and research not only takes responsibility for the lives of others, but prevention in our own lives. Although many of us are providential enough to have healthy families and healthy bodies, the human body functions the same from one person to the next, and disease is always lurking. Step up and join the fight, with American College of Nursing (ACN), in spreading knowledge. Walk alongside a mother, a father, a son or daughter. Investigate and circulate the new information. Fight for life. One person at a time, one cure at a time, it’s you.
Partners, B. (M.D). Citing Websites Life Science Digest. Retrieved June 10,2012 from