Scleroderma: Understanding Your Treatment Options

A rare autoimmune disease, scleroderma involves the hardening of connective tissue throughout your body. Connective tissue holds the different parts of your body together and gives your body structure: Your skin, tendons, and ligaments are all examples of connective tissue. 

With an autoimmune disease, your own body works against you. In the case of scleroderma, that means that your body mistakenly recognizes your own tissues as invaders and produces extra collagen (a protein found in skin) as if there were an injury that needs healing. 

Warning signs of scleroderma

Scleroderma affects everyone differently. In some people, the disease targets only the skin, but in others, the disease may affect virtually every organ. 

Though the signs and symptoms of scleroderma vary from person to person, you can expect any of these warning signs: 

If scleroderma is affecting your blood vessels, lungs, kidneys, digestive system, or heart, you may experience more severe symptoms, such as: 

Scleroderma treatment options

Unfortunately, there’s not yet a cure for scleroderma. There are, however, many treatment options that can ease symptoms, relieve pain, and improve your quality of life. 

When you come to Pacific Rheumatology Medical Center to see us, Dr. Khaleghi may prescribe medications to help with various aspects of scleroderma, including: 

If medications aren’t helping enough on their own, Dr. Khaleghi might refer you to a physical therapist who can help you manage pain, retain your range of motion, build strength, and ensure your independence with day-to-day activities. 

In severe cases, some patients with scleroderma need surgery. If Raynaud’s disease develops in addition to scleroderma, it might mean the amputation of affected fingertips becomes necessary. Raynaud’s disease involves constriction of blood vessels, and if it becomes severe enough, the tissue in the fingertips or toes may die. 

People who have systemic scleroderma (scleroderma that affects the organ systems) may need a variety of surgeries to extend their lives. In these cases, Dr. Khaleghi refers you to a qualified surgeon. 

If you have scleroderma or think you may have symptoms of scleroderma, visit Dr. Khaleghi right away to get started with the best course of treatment. Call our office location that’s nearest to you in either Orange, or Laguna Hills, California, or book an appointment online

You Might Also Enjoy...

Rheumatology and COVID-19: What You Should Know

If you’ve been diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, you’re more vulnerable to developing COVID-19. Being at a higher risk means you need to stay diligent about protecting your health and preventing exposure to the coronavirus.

Understanding Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders are notorious for causing generic symptoms and being hard to diagnose, which means that you need the care of a highly experienced rheumatologist. Learn about autoimmune disorders and how they can affect your body.

4 Tips for Managing Gout

Gout affects men three times more often than women, but an acute attack is painful and debilitating for everyone. With lifestyle changes and self-care, you can take steps to manage your gout and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Top Vasculitis Warning Signs

Vasculitis is not a common health problem, yet it can affect children and adults and lead to serious complications if you don’t get early treatment. Here’s how to recognize the top vasculitis warning signs.