Scleroderma (also known as systemic sclerosis) is a chronic autoimmune rheumatic disease. It is estimated that about 240 per million Americans have this disease; most are women between the ages of 30 and 50. The word “scleroderma” comes from two Greek words: “sclera” meaning hard, and “derma” meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible signs of this disease.
The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly from person to person, and the effects of scleroderma can range from very mild to life threatening. The seriousness will depend on the parts of the body, which are affected, and the extent to which they are affected. A mild case can become more serious over time. Prompt and proper diagnosis and treatment by qualified physicians may minimize the symptoms of scleroderma and lessen the chance for irreversible damage.
Currently there is no cure for scleroderma, but there are many treatments available to help with systems. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical and routine follow-up with your physicians is important. Take this opportunity to learn more about scleroderma and have your questions answered by Cleveland Clinic specialists, rheumatologist Soumya Chatterjee, MD and pulmonologist Kristin Highland, MD.
About the Speakers
Soumya Chatterjee, MD, MS, FRCP, is a staff physician in the Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases. He completed an internal medicine residency and a rheumatology fellowship at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. He also has a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Chatterjee is a general rheumatologist who sees patients with complex, multisystem rheumatologic conditions. He specializes in scleroderma, Raynaud phenomenon, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and myositis.
Kristin Highland MD, is a Staff Member in the Department of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Highland completed her fellowship and is board certified in both rheumatology and pulmonology. Her research interests are in scleroderma interstitial lung disease and pulmonary hypertension. She is recognized as a national and international clinical expert in pulmonary manifestations of connective tissue diseases and has served on the Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease steering committee for the American College of Chest Physicians.
To make an appointment with Soumya Chatterjee, MD, or any other specialist in our Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases at Cleveland Clinic, please call 216.444.5632 or 800.223.2273 ext 45632. You can also visit us online at clevelandclinic.org/rheum.
To make an appointment with Kristin Highland, MD, or any other specialist in the Respiratory Institute, call 216-444-6503,or visit clevelandclinic.org/respiratory.