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How Should I Treat My Scleroderma?

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Nov 2014 12:46 PM

Question: I have chronic pain in my joints, and a blood test shows I have scleroderma. I have been taking ibuprofen, as per my doctor’s instructions, but now I have acid reflux and trouble swallowing. What can I do to get to the root cause of this autoimmune disease? I prefer to go the "healthy alternative" route vs. the drug route.
 
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder that must be managed aggressively. This is often a progressive and disabling and disfiguring disorder that has unfortunately no “healthy alternative” treatment that will by itself treat your condition.
 
Seek out a rheumatologist who specializes in this area, and be aware that this disease can affect your skin, joints, blood vessels, lungs, and the soft tissues of your esophageal area. Immune-suppressive therapies are usually used to induce remission of the inflammatory phase of scleroderma, and some centers are using stem cell techniques and bone marrow transplantation for severe cases of scleroderma.
 
Scleroderma's adverse effects are often not possible to reverse once the disease advances. Treatment at this stage often involves comfort measures, protection of involved tissues from further damage, and appropriate physical and occupational therapy. This is a disease that can be induced to remission, and must be managed aggressively and early on to achieve the best results long term.

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Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disorder that must be managed aggressively.
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