Exploring Treatments for Scleroderma

Exploring Treatments for Scleroderma

Your body naturally produces collagen, a type of protein, to promote skin and connective tissue health. However, some people produce too much collagen. This is an autoimmune condition known as scleroderma. When the skin and connective tissues become thicker than they should be, health complications can arise.

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of scleroderma (e.g. Raynaud’s symptoms, joint pain, thickened skin, and joint stiffness), it’s time to consult a rheumatologist near you. The expert team at Empowered Arthritis and Rheumatology can provide an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatments for scleroderma.

An Overview of Scleroderma Treatment Options

Scleroderma is often manageable with a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes. The exact treatments our rheumatologist may recommend depend on the type of scleroderma, your current symptoms and its severity.

Lifestyle Modifications

If you have mild symptoms, lifestyle changes may an effective treatment for scleroderma. Your rheumatologist may recommend the following:

  • Management of Raynaud’s
  • Stress management
  • Good dental hygiene and professional care
  • Regular exercise
  • Proper skin care
  • Dietary changes

Medications

Medications may be appropriate for managing your symptoms and limiting organ damage. For example, immunosuppressants can prevent your immune system from attacking healthy tissue. In particular if you have lung inflammation due to scleroderma referred to as interstitial lung disease immune suppressing medications is recommended to slow down lung damage.  Depending on your specific symptoms, your rheumatologist may also recommend the following medications:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage joint pain.
  • Medications to manage Raynaud’s: nifedipine , losartan , sildenafil, nitroglycerin cream
  • Antacids for GERD and heartburn
  • Medications to manage pulmonary hypertension
  • Medications to manage related kidney disease or Raynaud’s phenomenon

Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical therapy can be helpful for strengthening the muscles and improving mobility. It may also contribute to pain management. It could reduce the joint contracture, which is one of the complications of scleroderma.

Your rheumatologist may refer you for occupational therapy if you’re having trouble with the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as personal hygiene. An occupational therapist can help you learn modifications to make daily tasks easier.

The most effective way to determine which treatments for scleroderma are right for you is to consult the best rheumatologists in the Wake County, NC area. Empowered Arthritis and Rheumatology is a leading provider of comprehensive and personalized treatment plans for scleroderma. Call our office in Cary or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist near you.

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