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We want you to be educated and supported about this disease. If you’re educated, you can live successfully with scleroderma. The amount of information may look overwhelming or even frightening, but it will help you explain the signs and symptoms so you can know and understand what you may be experiencing.
Most patients do not have all these involvements and your involvement may be very mild and may stay mild. Remember that people with scleroderma are not alone. There are others in the same situation.
The Scleroderma Foundation of California has local support groups that can bring patients, family, friends, and caregivers together to help them or you, or both.
Our staff and volunteers are here to help you and your supporters. Remember, you are not alone and, importantly, remember that scleroderma is a treatable disease.
What is scleroderma?
How serious is scleroderma?
How is scleroderma diagnosed?
What causes Scleroderma?
What is the treatment of scleroderma?
Who develops scleroderma?
Forms of scleroderma
The symptoms of scleroderma vary greatly from person to person and most people with scleroderma do not develop all the symptoms and signs of the illness.
Symptoms of scleroderma may be obvious, such as when the skin is involved, or may be invisible, such as when the lungs or other internal organs are involved.
Treatment: may vary from skin creams to physical therapy to immunosuppressive therapies or other medications.
Treatment includes lifestyle changes, biofeedback, and medications.
Calcinosis (calcium deposits):
Treatment for skin involvement includes lifestyle changes, biofeedback and medications.
Treatment includes rest, physical therapy, medications, including pain medicines, anti-inflammatory medicines and immunosuppressives.
Since reversing lung damage is uncommon (although stabilizing the lung is possible), it is important to try to prevent damage by treating early.
Treatment includes stopping smoking, limiting air pollutants if possible, physical therapy, immunosuppressive and anti-fibrotic therapy, oxygen, and, if necessary, transplantation.
Treatment includes medications, oxygen and, rarely, lung transplantation
Heart (cardiac) involvement:
Treatment includes diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, medications, use of a pacemaker and rarely cardiac transplant.
Kidney (renal) involvement:
Treatment includes rapid control of blood pressure with medications, dialysis or transplant.
Gastrointestinal tract (GIT):
Mouth: Oral, facial, and dental problems,
Treatment includes early and frequent dental consultations, treatment for dry eyes and dry mouth, flossing, etc.
Treatments include lifestyle changes (eating smaller, more frequent meals, eating early), elevating the head of the bed and medications.
Treatments include lifestyle changes are as for the esophagus and medications.
Treatments include diet changes, supplements medications and antibiotics and, very rarely, total parenteral nutrition.
Large bowel, rectum and anus:
Treatment of the large bowel, rectum and anus may require changes in diet, supplements, medication, and may, in rare instances, require colostomy.
Treatment includes minor surgery, liquid eye drops and medications.
Tests to diagnose scleroderma: