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Scleroderma Symptoms and How to Treat Them

By Brandi Goodman 

Scleroderma essentially translates to hard skin. That's only one symptom this condition brings on, though. Many others can trouble you and cause you serious discomfort and struggles. Scleroderma Awareness Month in June encourages people everywhere to learn more about this disease and how you can help. No cure is known, but treatment options for each condition can reduce some pain.

Hard and Itchy Skin

Moisturizing is one of the best things you can do for hardened and itchy skin. It won't completely eliminate the problem caused by scleroderma, but it can help to soften the area some and reduce the need to scratch at it. Raw coconut oil is used by some patients, while others try shea butter. 

Stiff Joints

You may need medication to help reduce swelling and inflammation. This can help with your joint stiffness and help to reduce some achiness felt all over your body. Physical therapy may be an option as well so you can move your joints and help to improve their strength.

Digestive Troubles

Some scleroderma patients report digestive troubles. In these cases, it's important to follow a healthy diet and get enough fiber so your digestion tract can operate as intended. Certain foods may upset your stomach more than usual, however, so you'll have to discuss the best meal options for you with your doctor. 

Lung Scarring

Collagen can build up when you have this disease. This can cause a thickening of the lung tissues and lead to fibrosis. When the lungs scar in this manner, shortness of breath is often one of the first reported symptoms. Oxygen becomes difficult to be transported through the body. You should stop smoking immediately, avoid secondhand smoke, drink plenty of water, and do your best to stay physically active to improve your lung capacity.

Dry Mouth and Loosening Teeth

It's important for everyone to see the dentist regularly. Those with scleroderma especially need to make time for routine care because mouth health can go downhill quickly after you're diagnosed. A dry mouth is just the beginning of the dental problems you might face. The connective tissues can become damaged, resulting in tooth decay and loosening teeth that eventually fall out. Let your dentist know about your disease so they can provide a proper treatment plan and keep an eye on things.

Scleroderma can greatly impact many aspects of your health. Do what you can to manage your symptoms and lead as healthy of a life as possible. Always be sure to speak with your doctor about the solutions you're attempting to try, and make sure you have a plan in place with your health care professional so you're doing what's best for your individual situation.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Evans, Ga.

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