Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
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 will review your medical history and conduct a physical examination, which may include:
- Checking your skin for thickened and hardened areas
- Feeling some of your joints and tendons to check for possible changes in connective tissue beneath your skin
- Inspecting your fingers for changes that may indicate Raynaud's disease
- Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Hummers LK, et al. Scleroderma. In: Imboden JB, et al. Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=2725959. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
- Denton CP. Classification of scleroderma disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Varga J. Risk factors and possible causes of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- Varga J. Overview of the clinical manifestations of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- What is a rheumatologist? American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/rheumatologist.asp. Accessed Sept. 1, 2010.
- 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.