Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Because limited scleroderma can affect so many different parts of your body, you may need to be seen by doctors in a variety of specialties, including:
- Rheumatology, the treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders
- Dermatology, the treatment of skin disorders
- Pulmonology, the treatment of lung disorders
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions 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
Since your time with your doctor is limited, preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For limited scleroderma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- What self-care steps may help manage my symptoms?
- Do I need to follow any restrictions?
- How often will you see me for follow-up visits?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them 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:
- What are you 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?
- Habif TP. Scleroderma. In: Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?sid=1149581384&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00026-2--s0540&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00026-2--s0605&uniqId=239740754-5. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Ferri FF. Scleroderma (progressive systemic sclerosis). In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--sc29005&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&sid=1149581384&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--s29225&uniqId=239740754-5#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--s29225. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Systemic sclerosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec04/ch032/ch032h.html. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Steen VD. The many faces of scleroderma. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2008;34:1.
- Autoimmune connective tissue disease. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--sc0040&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&sid=1149586698&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--s0715&uniqId=239740754-7#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--s0715. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Handout on health: Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Agarwal SK, et al. Genetics and genomic studies in scleroderma (systemic sclerosis). Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2008;34:17.