Preparing for your appointment

Because limited scleroderma can affect different parts of your body, you might need to consult with 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 and when they began
  • Information about medical problems you've had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents and siblings
  • Medications, vitamins and other dietary supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor

Take someone with you, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given. For limited scleroderma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What other possible causes are there?
  • What tests do I need?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • Are there self-care steps I can take 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

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:

  • How have your symptoms changed over time?
  • Do you have heartburn?
  • Are you having trouble swallowing?
  • Do your fingers change color when they get cold?
  • Have you lost weight without trying?
  • Have you noticed changes in your bowel habits?
  • Have you been diagnosed with other medical conditions?
May 18, 2017
References
  1. What is scleroderma? Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageNavigator/patients_whatis.html#.WG0T5ZK8zhc. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  2. Scleroderma. American College of Dermatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Scleroderma. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  3. Longo DL, et al., eds. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) and related disorders. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  4. Systemic sclerosis: Diffuse and limited. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/Search?query=Systemic+scleroderma,+diffuse+and+limited#.WG0UrpK8zhdv. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  5. Shah AA, et al. My approach to the treatment of scleroderma. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2013;88:377.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Scleroderma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  7. 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 Jan. 4, 2017.
  8. Scleroderma. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/painful-skin-joints/scleroderma#tips. Accessed Jan. 5, 2017.
  9. Kidneys. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=body_kidney#.WHU6eZK8zhc. Accessed Jan. 10, 2017.