Preparing for your appointment

You'll probably first bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, who may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor specializing in the treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bone. Because scleroderma can affect many organ systems, you may need to see a variety of medical specialists.

What you can do

Appointments can be brief. To make the best use of the limited time, plan ahead and write lists of important information, including:

  • Detailed descriptions of all your symptoms
  • A list of all your medications and dosages, including nonprescription drugs and supplements
  • Questions for the doctor, such as what tests or treatments he or she may recommend

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • Do your fingers become numb or change colors when you get cold or upset?
  • Do you regularly experience heartburn or swallowing problems?
  • Have your parents or siblings ever had similar signs and symptoms?
June 21, 2016
References
  1. Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma. Accessed March 28, 2016.
  2. Goldman L, et al., eds. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 28, 2016.
  3. Denton CP. Overview and classification of scleroderma disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 28, 2016.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Scleroderma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  5. Shah AA, et al. My approach to the treatment of scleroderma. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2013;88:377.
  6. Denton CP. Overview of the treatment and prognosis of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 28, 2016.
  7. Coping with scleroderma. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=patients_coping#.VvmLT9j2aic. Accessed March 28, 2016.