Scleroderma treatments depend on the symptoms a person is experiencing and their severity. Because there is no cure for the underlying condition (an overproduction of collagen), treatment methods are designed to minimize damage and provide relief from symptoms. Common scleroderma treatments include medications, proper care of skin and teeth, and occupational therapy.
Currently, there is nothing that can control or stop the underlying problem of scleroderma -- the overproduction of collagen. Thus, scleroderma treatments 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 doctor. Other treatments include things you can do on your own.
Who Provides Scleroderma Treatments?
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 care. 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.