Paul Klee Had Scleroderma and his Artwork Reflects It
Scleroderma Awareness Day occurs every June 29. The reason June 29 was chosen as the date is because on June 29, 1940, the famous Swiss painter Paul Klee died. Paul Klee is probably the most internationally recognized person to have had scleroderma. Much of Klee’s later work was influenced by the progression of his disease. The work that nears his last years has very visual interpretations of his experiences and symptoms as a man with scleroderma. His last few painting before his death seemed to reflect the pain he suffered from the disease.
What is Scleroderma? Why is there a Scleroderma Awareness Day?
Let’s learn a little bit about the disease on Scleroderma Awareness Day so we can understand Klee’s artwork a little more deeply. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, tissue and organs. It is a progressive disease, but it can often be managed with medications and other kinds of treatment. Scleroderma is a rare disease.
There are only around 100,000 people with scleroderma in the United States. The disease affects mostly women, generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Like all autoimmune diseases, the cause of scleroderma is unknown, and again, like other autoimmune diseases, genetics do seem to elevate your risk for developing it. People who have relatives that suffer from other autoimmune diseases, or scleroderma itself, may be more at risk for the disease. It can also develop in children, even though typical diagnosis usually takes place in women between the age of 30 and 50.
Scleroderma Attacks the Immune System
Healthy cells attack the immune system in autoimmune diseases. A normal immune system is the body’s defender. The autoimmune system is responsible for fighting off any foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system starts attacking the body’s healthy cells rather than just the stuff that causes illnesses. Every autoimmune disease attacks the body differently. Each disease has a particular way that it behaves in terms of what it chooses to attack. With scleroderma, the immune system causes inflammation in the skin, tissues and organs. The most common symptom associated with scleroderma is a thickening or tightening of the skin. But, it may also cause scarring in the lungs, heart, kidney’s and intestines.
Localized scleroderma mainly affects the skin, though it may also progress to include muscles, joints, and bones. This type of scleroderma, though it may be serious, is not as dangerous as systemic scleroderma. This is because it does not affect the internal organs. Usually, localized scleroderma presents with patches of discoloration on the skin. Linear scleroderma is the name for bands of thickened, hard skin that may appear as streaks or lines on the arms or legs.
Systemic scleroderma is the most pervasive form of the disease, and also the most potentially serious. With systemic scleroderma, it affects more of the body. In addition to the skin, muscles, joints and bones, it also may affect the blood vessels, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, or other internal organs.
There are two different classifications of systemic scleroderma, which are CREST syndrome (limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis), and diffuse cutaneous systemic scleroderma. Crest syndrome affects mostly the skin of the fingers and toes and may cause nodules under the skin. Crest syndrome is often associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon. It may also cause difficulty with movement of the esophagus, pulmonary hypertension, and dilated blood vessels. With the second type of systemic scleroderma, diffuse cutaneous systemic scleroderma, it tends to involve the internal organs more. It may also affect the skin on the hands and wrists. This type of scleroderma causes the organs to build up scar tissue and over time the organ essentially hardens and “freezes”.
Because scleroderma is such a complicated disease, it is important that people with the disease find rheumatologists who either specialize in scleroderma or have extensive experience dealing with it. There is no cure for scleroderma. There are, however, many different kinds of treatments and therapies that can be effective in managing and controlling the progression of the disease. Treating scleroderma usually means trying to keep it at bay and prevent further damage from occurring. There are many different kinds of medications that can help manage symptoms. Anti-inflammatory drugs minimize the severity of inflammation that can lead to permanent damage. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are also helpful measures to maintain flexibility of the skin and joints.
Personalized Cause and Scleroderma Awareness Day
If you’re a new reader, let me welcome you to the Personalized Cause® awareness blog! Personalized Cause® is an awareness accessory brand that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique way to raise awareness for your cause, advocate on someone’s behalf, or show support for someone when you may now know exactly what to say.
Our custom awareness ribbons allow customers to personalize their awareness ribbon with any text they choose. The thing that makes our custom awareness really special is the fact that there is no minimum quantity order for custom awareness ribbons. Customers can simply order one custom pin. If you’re not in the market for custom awareness ribbons, no problem. We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons and silicone wristbands.
Personalized Cause® believes in the power of awareness. We’ve seen how one small awareness ribbon can transform a community. We know that educating people makes a difference. That’s why we’ve created the Personalized Cause® awareness blog. We feel it is our duty to help raise awareness for the things that affect our customers every day. Our mission with this awareness blog is to create an awareness domino effect by educating our readers. In turn, they can educate others.
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