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Because the symptoms of scleroderma often mimic those of other diseases such as bursitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other collagen disorders, it is difficult to diagnose. There is no test specific for confirmation of a diagnosis of scleroderma, but x-rays, skin biopsies, and tests for antinuclear antibodies, gamma globulin, sedimentation rate, and latex fixation can provide evidence that the disease is present.
Calcium deposit sites are assessed regularly to note any signs of prolonged pressure, ulceration, or infection. Cool, moist compresses and a topical ointment can help relieve infections when they do develop at these sites. Protection of the respiratory tract includes stopping smoking, avoiding infectious agents, and getting adequate rest. Emotional stress can aggravate the condition; hence patients are taught effective coping strategies and relaxation techniques.
Mouth care and proper brushing and flossing, as well as periodic dental checks, are necessary to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. Patients with scleroderma have great difficulty opening their mouths wide enough to allow dental work to be done. Patients are encouraged to take prescribed medications exactly as ordered and are taught the names of their drugs, their expected action, and when and how to take them, that is, with meals and never with milk products.
Patients and their families can participate better in self-care and management of the illness if they are provided with continued support, either with a group or by a visiting nurse. Additional information about the disease can be obtained by contacting the United Scleroderma Foundation, P.O. Box 399, Watsonville, CA 95077-0399, telephone (800) 722-HOPE.
Synonym(s): dermatosclerosis, systemic scleroderma.
Patient discussion about dermatosclerosis
Q. what is scleroderma?
Q. Is anybody treated with Humira for child's scleroderma? A girl, age 14, treated with Humira for scleroderma. Medication is currently not supported by health care services due to lack of pervasive support for clinical results. Before trying Humira, the girl was treated with Omrigam. This did not help, while now with Humira she is finally able to walk again.Humira is expensive. If somebody else is in the "same boat" please reply