Scleroderma: Main Types & Top Questions Answered
What Are the Symptoms of Scleroderma?
The symptoms can affect many parts of your body. They include:
- Hardened or thickened skin that looks shiny and smooth. It’s most common on the hands and face.
- Cold fingers or toes that turn red, white, or blue. This is called Raynaud's phenomenon.
- Ulcers or sores on fingertips
- Small red spots on the face and chest. These are opened blood vessels called telangiectasias.
- Puffy or swollen or painful fingers and/or toes
- Painful or swollen joints
- Muscle weakness
- Dry eyes or mouth (called Sjogren's syndrome)
- Swelling -- mostly of the hands and fingers. Your doctor may call this edema.
- Shortness of breath
- Weight Loss
How Is Scleroderma Diagnosed?
Your doctor will check you and ask about your health history. He’ll likely take an X-ray, do some blood tests, or take a small sample of skin (called a biopsy). He may check out your heart, lungs, and esophagus.
How Is Scleroderma Treated?
There’s no treatment for scleroderma, but you can manage the symptoms. Your doctor will focus on helping you do that with:
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin). They can help with swelling and pain.
- Steroids and other drugs to control your immune response. These can help with muscle, joint, or internal organ problems.
- Drugs that boost blood flow to your fingers
- Blood pressure medication
- Drugs that open blood vessels in the lungs or prevent tissue from scarring
- Heartburn medication
Other things that help may include:
- Exercise for better overall health
- Skin treatment, including light and laser therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Stress management
- If severe organ damage happens, organ transplantation