Talking to Your Doctor About Scleroderma
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with scleroderma. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Is it possible to determine which type of scleroderma I have?
- What kind of symptoms should I immediately call you about?
About Treatment Options
- Are there any new treatments for scleroderma?
- Are there any clinical trials from which I might benefit?
- Do you recommend that I participate in a clinical trial?
- How long will the medications you’ve prescribed take to work?
- How much improvement should I expect?
- What kinds of side effect should I expect?
- When should I call you about a side effect?
- Are there interactions between my medicines?
- Are there any herbal supplements or complementary or alternative therapies that can help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Are there any activities that I should change?
- Can you recommend an appropriate exercise program?
- Should I make any changes to my diet?
- Can you recommend a program to help me stop smoking?
- What can I do to continue my usual activities and protect my hands and feet?
- What can I do to continue my usual activities and protect my skin?
- Are there local support groups I can join?
About Your Outlook
- Is it possible to predict the course my condition will follow?
Last reviewedMay 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.