Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to first see your primary care physician. However, he or she may then refer you to a doctor who specializes in skin disorders (dermatologist). You also may be referred to a doctor who specializes in diseases of the joints, bones and muscles (rheumatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you cover all of the points that are important to you. For morphea, some basic questions you might want to ask include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- How long will these skin changes last?
- If the skin discoloration and hardening clears up, will it ever come back?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- I have other health conditions. How can I manage these conditions together?
- What can I do to improve my appearance?
- Are there brochures or other printed materials I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other relevant questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you first notice changes in your skin?
- Has this ever happened before?
- Do the changes come and go or are they constant?
- Have you tried to treat this condition yourself? If so, did it help?
- Have you ever been treated by a doctor for this condition?
- If so, what were the treatments and did they help?
- Have you had any difficulty chewing food or swallowing?
- Have you experienced extreme cold sensitivity in your fingers or toes?
- Have you noticed any other changes in your general health?
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2968193. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- 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/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..X0001-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Localized scleroderma. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/pdf/Medical_Brochures/Localized.pdf. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Badea I, et al. Pathogenesis and therapeutic approaches for improved topical treatment in localized scleroderma and systemic sclerosis. Rheumatology. 2009;48:213.
- Morphea. National Institutes of Health. http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/Condition/10485/Morphea.aspx. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Valanclene G, et al. Pathogenesis and treatment modalities of localized scleroderma. Medicina (Kaunas). 2010;46:649.
- Fett NM. Morphea: Evidence-based recommendations for treatment. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. 2012;78:135.
- Zancanaro PCQ, et al. Localized scleroderma in children: Clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. 2009;84:1.
- Mild psoriasis: Non-steroidal prescription topical treatments. National Psoriasis Foundation. http://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/treatments/topicals/non-steroid. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Prednisone. PubMed Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000091/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Plaquenil (prescribing information). Bridgewater, N.J.: Sanofi-Aventis; 2006. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2007/009768s041lbl.pdf. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Neoral (prescribing information). East Hanover, N.J.: Novartis; 2009. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/050715s028,050716s029lbl.pdf. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall). American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/medications/methotrexate.asp. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/PrintVersion.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.