Module: In-depth information on muscle and lung disease with a focus on African Americans

Virginia Steen, MD

How is it different and what can you do to optimize your disease management?

Systemic sclerosis is more common percentage wise and develops at a younger age in African Americans compared to Caucasians. The most common age of onset in Caucasian females is between 55-64. But in African-American females, there is a group who develop scleroderma very early at age 15-24. The peak age in African-American females between 45-54. In African-American males, there is also increased incidence and prevalence. The most common age of onset in African-American males is 35-54, compared to age 45-64 in Caucasian males.

African Americans with scleroderma also tend to have more severe disease. They are more likely to die early from their disease. This is not unusual. With many diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, African Americans have more severe disease.

Early diagnosis and proper care lead to better outcomes. This module will discuss why these racial differences may exist. But first we will describe how scleroderma is different in African Americans.