Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes the accumulation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and internal organs. It is also strongly associated with blood vessel abnormalities and may involve the joints.
The disease is much more common in women than in men, and typically occurs between age 30 and 50. Although the direct cause of scleroderma is unknown, in some patients exposure to environmental factors, such as silica dust, industrial solvents, and certain chemotherapy drugs, may play a role.
Physicians at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases collaborate with BWH specialists in dermatology, bone and joint radiology, occupational and physical therapy, podiatry, orthopaedics, pain management, physiatry, neurology, and other services to evaluate and treat scleroderma and other autoimmune disorders.
Scleroderma can lead to scarring of the skin, joints, and internal organs. The following are common symptoms of scleroderma:
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, one or more of the following tests may be used to help diagnose scleroderma:
Scleroderma treatment may include:
To schedule an appointment with one of our scleroderma treatment specialists at the Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases, please call 1-800-294-9999 or use our online appointment request form.