Talking to Your Doctor About Scleroderma

Talk openly and often with your healthcare provider. It will help you make the best choices for your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will help you talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write down your questions so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you grasp what you are hearing. Ask for help, if needed.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions. Ask where you can learn more. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Scleroderma

  • Do you know which type of scleroderma I have?
  • What kind of symptoms should I call you about right away?

About Treatment

  • What will my medicines treat?
  • How long will the medicines take to work?
  • How much will medicines help?
  • What kinds of side effect should I expect?
  • When should I call you about a side effect?
  • Are there interactions between my medicines?
  • Are there any new treatments?
  • Are there any herbal supplements or complementary or alternative therapies that can help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Are there any activities that I should change?
  • Which exercises are right for me?
  • Should I make any changes to my diet?
  • What can I do to protect my hands and feet?
  • What can I do to protect my skin?
  • Are there local support groups I can join?

About Your Outlook

  • How will this health problem affect my life?
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References:

Kowal-Bielecka O, Fransen J, et al. Update of EULAR recommendations for the treatment of systemic sclerosis. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017 Aug;76(8):1327-1339.
Localized scleroderma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/localized-scleroderma. Accessed August 12, 2020.
Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed August 12, 2020.
Systemic sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/systemic-sclerosis. Accessed August 12, 2020.
Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. August 13, 2020.
What is scleroderma? Scleroderma Foundation website. Available at:
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Accessed August 12, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 3/9/2021

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