While searching for a way to show the relationship of Scleroderma ( Scleroderma is one of the 14 NRC diseases ) and other autoimmune diseases I came across this site. The funny thing is this site was always available to me because the doctor who wrote this Dr Foster is my doctor. What he writes here supports the relationship of Scleroderma and other autoimmune diseases, in my case Scleritis.
This link is worth reading. http://www.uveitis.org/kids/OIDGuide.htm
The immune system is designed to protect and defend the body from foreign intruders (germs). The mechanisms of the immune system reside in the body, not in the eye. The immune system is complex. Essentially, it contains several different types of cells, some of which function like security guards, which are constantly on patrol looking for any foreign invaders. When they spot one, they take action and eliminate the intruder.
In some forms of ocular inflammatory disease, the immune system loses its ability to tell the difference between a foreign intruder and a person's own normal tissues and cells. So, in essence, the guarding cells lose their memory, and they mistakenly identify the person's own normal cells as foreign (antigens) and, subsequently, take action to eliminate them.
This dysregulation of the immune system is termed autoimmunity, or immune attack against self. The reason why this happens is unknown. The result of autoimmunity is chronic inflammation.
Autoimmune-mediated Ocular Inflammatory Disease
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the body's immune responses being directed against its own tissues, causing prolonged inflammation and subsequent tissue destruction. A number of autoimmune diseases exist, the most familiar of which is rheumatoid arthritis. In rheumatoid arthritis, the dysregulated immune system attacks the joints.
A number of autoimmune diseases exist in which the eye or various parts of the eye may be attacked. In ocular inflammatory disease, often the autoimmune disease is systemic, not only involving the eye but a variety of organs throughout the body. The most common examples of such diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, polyarteritis nodosa, relapsing polychondritis, Wegener’s granulomatosis, scleroderma
, Behcet’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), sarcoidosis, and ankylosing spondylitis.