Because limited scleroderma can affect so many different parts of your body, you may need to be seen by a variety of doctors, including those who specialize in the treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders (rheumatologist), skin disorders (dermatologist) or lung disorders (pulmonologist).
What you can do
To make the most of your appointment, you may want to write a list that includes:
- A detailed description of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
Preparing a list of questions may help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For limited scleroderma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Are there any self-care steps to help manage my symptoms?
- How often will you see me for follow-up visits?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, your doctor will look for changes in the texture, color and appearance of your skin. He or she may also ask:
April 30, 2014
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- Are you having problems with heartburn?
- Are you having trouble swallowing?
- Are you experiencing extra fatigue or achiness?
- Do your fingers change color when they get cold?
- Have you lost weight without trying?
- Have you noticed any changes in your bowel habits?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- What medications are you currently taking, including vitamins and supplements?
- Imboden JB, et al. Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=809. Accessed Feb. 15, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Feb. 15, 2014.
- Handout on health: Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp#3. Accessed Feb. 15, 2014.
- Van don Hoogen F, et al. 2013 classification criteria for systemic sclerosis: An American college of rheumatology/European league against rheumatism collaborative initiative. Annals of the Rheumatic Disease. 2013;72:1747.
- Denton CP. Overview of the treatment and prognosis of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 15, 2014.