Various Options for Managing Systemic Scleroderma

What Problems Do Scleroderma Treatments Address?

The following are some of the potential problems that can occur in systemic scleroderma:
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Stiff, painful joints
  • Skin problems
  • Dental problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Lung damage
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Cosmetic problems.
Different people experience different problems with scleroderma, and not all scleroderma treatments work equally well for all people. Your doctor can help you find the best treatment for your specific symptoms.

(Click Scleroderma Symptoms for more information.)

Scleroderma Treatments for Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon is one of the most common problems of scleroderma. The following scleroderma treatments may make you more comfortable and help prevent problems:
  • Don't smoke. Smoking narrows the blood vessels even more and makes Raynaud's phenomenon worse
  • Dress warmly, with special attention to hands and feet. Dress in layers, and try to stay indoors during cold weather
  • Use biofeedback (to control various body processes that are not normally thought of as being under conscious control) and relaxation exercises.
For severe cases, speak to your doctor about prescribing drugs called calcium channel blockers, such as nifedipine (Procardia®), which can open up small blood vessels and improve circulation. Other drugs are in development and may become available in the future.
Increasing your dose of calcium channel blockers (under the direction of your doctor only) may help decrease skin sores and ulcers. You can also protect skin ulcers from further injury or infection by applying nitroglycerine paste or antibiotic cream. Severe ulcerations on the fingertips can be treated with bioengineered skin.

Scleroderma Information

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