Thursday, February 14, 2008

Southern California assemblywoman puts name on list for lung transplant
due to scleroderma

Scleroderma is a chronic, degenerative, autoimmune disorder that leads to the over-production of collagen in the body's connective tissue. The word "scleroderma" means "hardening of the skin" and refers to one of the possible physical effects of the disease. Scleroderma in the lung makes the lungs less flexible and reduces their blood supply resulting in shortness of breath, susceptibility to bronchial problems, and pulmonary fibrosis (scarring and thickening of lung tissue).

For a full description of scleroderma click here.

From the San Jose Mercury News in California:
The 53-year-old Republican from Lancaster (Sharon Runner) disclosed her decision today to reporters. She said an autoimmune disease known as limited scleroderma makes it difficult for her to breathe when she climbs stairs or is at high altitudes.

She was diagnosed with the disease 20 years ago, but it has worsened over the past year-and-a-half. Limited scleroderma affects the part of the body that binds tissues and organs.

"It's almost like a hidden disease. Nobody knows you have it," Runner said.

Runner has missed session three days in the last two weeks after coming down with bronchial pneumonia. Its symptoms were worsened by her condition.

She says she will serve through the end of her term in November. However, she would miss a week of session if she receives a lung transplant before then.

In California, 179 people are on the wait list for lung transplants, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Runner said she expects to get a transplant before the end of the year.

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