In recognition of Scleroderma Awareness Month, NIAMS hosted a Twitter chat on scleroderma on June 29, 2017. The Institute partnered with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; the Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Research Foundation for this chat. Pravitt Gourh, M.D., of the NIAMS Rheumatology Fellowship and Training Branch, served as a subject matter expert. NIAMS grantees Virginia Steen, M.D., of Georgetown University Medical Center, and Dinesh Khanna, M.D., M.S., of the University of Michigan, also provided input from their experience in scleroderma clinical research.
Scleroderma refers to a group of diseases that can cause devastating effects in connective tissue. Hard, thick skin is one of the symptoms, but the disease can also be systemic, affecting the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Scleroderma is more common in women, but can also affect men and children. Because scleroderma can be hard to diagnose, and its symptoms overlap with or resemble other diseases, scientists can only estimate how many cases there actually are. It is estimated that 49,000 adults in the United States have systemic sclerosis.
Using the hashtag #NIHSclerodermaChat, the chat reached 149,743 Twitter users with 2,612,072 impressions.