Proclamation 5069 -- National Scleroderma Week, 1983

June 17, 1983

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

Scleroderma is a painful and debilitating connective tissue disorder that causes hardening of the skin and can also affect several internal organs of the body. Although it can begin at any age, it usually afflicts people in their productive years. Several thousand middle-aged Americans -- women more than men -- have scleroderma.

In the more serious systemic form, scleroderma can not only affect the skin, joints, and muscles but also strike the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, heart, or kidneys. The cause and cure of scleroderma remain unknown, and it may be difficult to treat.

Nevertheless, there is ample reason for hope because the outlook for victims of scleroderma has improved significantly in recent years. Previously, the chances of survival were slim when scleroderma attacked the kidneys. But this is no longer the case. Medical researchers have discovered in the past few years that aggressive treatment with newly-developed anti-hypertensive drugs can lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and dramatically save lives. In addition, recent research has revealed the importance of abnormalities of fine blood vessels in the development of scleroderma.

Supported by the National Institutes of Health and by private voluntary agencies, researchers throughout the world are focusing their efforts on scleroderma. Improved methods for diagnosis, treatment, and control are being explored.

To increase awareness of scleroderma, recognize progress, and emphasize the need for a continued effort to defeat this disease, the Congress has, by Senate Joint Resolution 75, designated the week of June 12 through June 18, 1983, as National Scleroderma Week, 1983.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of June 12 through June 18, 1983, as National Scleroderma Week, 1983. I urge the people of the United States and educational, philanthropic, biomedical research, and health care organizations to continue their diligent and valuable efforts to discover the cause and cure of scleroderma in order to alleviate the suffering of all persons afflicted by this disorder.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-three and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventh.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:08 a.m., June 20, 1983]

Note: The text of the proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 18.