While there is no cure as of yet for the underlying problem of scleroderma -- the overproduction of collagen -- scleroderma treatment options can help relieve symptoms and minimize damage. Treatment options vary, based on the type and subtype, as well as on the location and severity of the disease. However, common scleroderma treatment options include medications, physical therapy, and taking proper care of the skin and teeth.
Scleroderma Treatment: An Overview
Currently, there are no treatments that control or stop the underlying problem of scleroderma -- the overproduction of collagen. Thus, scleroderma treatment and management focus on relieving symptoms and limiting damage. Your treatment will depend on the particular problems you are having and will be prescribed by your physician. Other treatments include things you can do on your own.
Scleroderma can affect many different organs and organ systems. Therefore, you may have several different doctors involved in your care. Your care will typically be managed by a rheumatologist who is a specialist in treating people with diseases of the joints, bones, muscles, and immune system.
Your rheumatologist may refer you to other specialists, depending on the specific problems you are having. These specialists include:
- A dermatologist for the treatment of skin symptoms
- A nephrologist for kidney complications
- A cardiologist for heart complications
- A gastroenterologist for problems of the digestive tract
- A pulmonary specialist for lung involvement.
In addition to doctors, professionals like nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical or occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers may play a role in your scleroderma treatment plan. Dentists, orthodontists, and even speech therapists can treat oral complications that arise from thickening of tissues in and around the mouth and on the face.