Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that can cause many different symptoms and complications for patients. No two patients are alike and all will experience the illness differently. However, there are some symptoms and complications that are commonly associated with scleroderma that will require treatment.
According to sclero.org, Raynaud’s phenomenon is an extremely common complication that affects up to 90 percent of scleroderma patients. Treatment can improve blood flow to prevent fingers and toes from becoming affected by temperature changes. Raynaud’s is usually treated using either calcium channel blockers which prevent calcium from entering the cells in the blood and heart, or angiotensin II receptor antagonists or angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, both of which stop certain chemicals and enzymes from constricting blood vessels. PDE-5 inhibitors can also help to open up constricted blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more freely.
Patients are also advised to keep their hands warm in colder temperatures and to try and avoid stress as much as possible.
Kidney involvement in scleroderma can also occur. In these cases, the kidney disease is treated with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that work by lowering blood pressure and blocking the enzymes that constrict blood vessels.
Heartburn or acid reflux is another common complication that many people with scleroderma experience. It’s usually treated with over-the-counter antacid medications. In more severe cases, proton-pump inhibitors and H2-blockers can lower the levels stomach acid.