Because scleroderma can take so many forms and affect so many different areas of the body, it can be difficult to diagnose.
After a thorough physical exam, your doctor may suggest blood tests to check for elevated blood levels of certain antibodies produced by the immune system. He or she may remove a small tissue sample (biopsy) of your affected skin so that it can be examined in the laboratory for abnormalities.
You may also need breathing tests (pulmonary function tests), a CT scan of your lungs and an echocardiogram of your heart.
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- Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed April 4, 2013.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed April 4, 2013.
- Denton DP. Classification of scleroderma disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 4, 2013.
- Imboden JB, et al. Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=38. Accessed April 5, 2013.
- Osborn TG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 8, 2013.
- Coping with scleroderma. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=patients_coping. Accessed April 5, 2013.
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