Lifestyle and home remediesBy Mayo Clinic staff
You can take a number of steps to help manage your symptoms of scleroderma:
- Stay active. Exercise keeps your body flexible, improves circulation and relieves stiffness. Range-of-motion exercises can help keep your skin and joints flexible.
- Don't smoke. Nicotine causes blood vessels to contract, making Raynaud's phenomenon worse. Smoking can also cause permanent narrowing of your blood vessels. Quitting smoking is difficult — ask your doctor for help.
- Manage heartburn. Avoid foods that give you heartburn or gas. Also avoid late-night meals. Elevate the head of your bed to keep stomach acid from backing up into your esophagus (reflux) as you sleep. Antacids may help relieve symptoms.
- Protect yourself from the cold. Wear warm mittens for protection anytime your hands are exposed to cold — even when you reach into a freezer. When you're outside in the cold, cover your face and head and wear layers of warm clothing.
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- Varga J, et al. Systemic scleroderma and the scleroderma-spectrum disorders. In: Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders Company; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/217753976-2/0/1807/575.html?tocnode=55733367&fromURL=575.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3285-4..10077-4_2830. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.