Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Several factors appear to increase the risk of certain types of scleroderma:
Race and ethnicity
Certain groups of people are more likely to develop scleroderma than are others:
- Native Americans. Choctaw Native Americans in Oklahoma are at least 20 times as likely as is the general population to develop systemic scleroderma. Oddly enough, this increased risk doesn't apply to Choctaws living in Mississippi.
- African-Americans. Systemic scleroderma is more common in African-Americans than it is in Americans of European descent. And the African-Americans who have systemic scleroderma are more likely to develop severe lung complications.
Scleroderma occurs at least four times as often in women as it does in men.
Exposure to a variety of substances may be linked to the development of scleroderma. Examples include:
- Silica dust, which is common in coal mines and rock quarries
- Some industrial solvents, such as paint thinners
- Certain chemotherapy drugs
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