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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Scleroderma
General Guidelines for Managing Scleroderma
Address Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Dress warmly.
- Wear gloves and extra socks.
- Avoid exposure to cold, including air conditioning.
- Do not smoke. Smoking will make your symptoms worse because it causes blood vessels to become even narrower.
Improve Your Skin’s Health
- Do not take hot baths or showers because hot water will dry out your skin.
- Frequently put on skin lotion, especially after bathing or showering.
- Always apply sunscreen before you go outside, even on cloudy days.
- Keep the air in your home moist by using humidifiers, especially in the winter.
- Exercise regularly to improve blood circulation and flexibility.
- Avoid exposure to harsh household chemicals, cleaners, and soaps.
Decrease Gastrointestinal Problems
- Avoid spicy and fatty foods, alcohol, and caffeine, all of which may irritate your stomach.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- If you have heartburn at night, elevate the head of your bed.
- Do not eat right before bedtime.
- Dental problems are common in people with scleroderma. Be sure to have regular dental checkups and to brush and floss regularly.
When to Contact Your Doctor
- Symptoms become worse
- New symptoms arise
- Depression or anxiety is interfering with your relationships, your ability to function normally, or your ability to enjoy life
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- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/28/2014