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Preventive Care for Pulmonary Involvement

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
How the Lungs Work
Diet and Nutrition
Flu & Pneumonia Shots

Avoid Smoke/Quit Smoking
Nasal Gels

How the Lungs Work

How Our Lungs Work. Oxygen, the fuel all the cells and organs of our body need to function, is extracted there from the air we inhale and infused into the bloodstream, to be distributed to other organs and tissues. With each exhalation, we dispose of the carbon dioxide that is the by-product of our bodily processes. American Lung Association.

Diet and Nutrition

Lungs and Nutrition. The right mix of nutrients in your diet can help you breathe easier. American Lung Association.

Flu and Pneumonia Shots

Preventive care for scleroderma patients with pulmonary fibrosis includes flu and pneumonia shots. One pneumonia shot is good for at least ten years, but flu shots need to be repeated each autumn.

However, it is generally not advisable for Scleroderma patients who also have lupus to get flu shots. Due to such considerations, all Scleroderma patients should check with their rheumatologists to see whether or not flu shots are advisable for them.

Pneumococcal Vaccination (Pneumonia Vaccination). Pneumococcal vaccination is a method of preventing a specific type of lung infection (pneumonia) that is caused by Pneumococcus bacterium. There are more than 80 different types of pneumococcus bacteria-23 of these are covered in the current vaccination.


Traveling with Oxygen by Airplane. Oxygen-dependent passengers may now carry their own portable oxygen concentrators on board all U.S. domestic flights and international flights beginning or ending in the United States. The only catch? The concentrators must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). VeryWell.

Avoid Smoke

It is extremely important for Scleroderma patients to avoid smoke and to quit smoking due to the risk of pulmonary fibrosis, and the effect that smoking has on the vascular and gastrointestinal system. Smoking worsens Scleroderma circulation problems, which can lead to more rapid disease progression and increases the risk of amputations. Avoid inhaling smoke from such sources as fireplaces and barbecues.

Clinicogenomic factors of biotherapy immunogenicity in autoimmune disease: A prospective multicohort study of the ABIRISK consortium. In our study, we found that tobacco smoking and infections during the study were associated with increased risk. PubMed, PLoS Med, 2020 Oct 30;17(10):e1003348. (Also see Raynaud's Prevention)

Smoking and systemic sclerosis (SSc): influence on microangiopathy and expression of anti-topoisomerase I antibodies (ATA) in a monocentric cohort. We observed a significant association between smoking history and positivity of ATA and we outlined the idea of a different effect of smoking on autoantibody expression between men and women. PubMed, Clin Exp Rheumatol, 03/25/2020. (Also see Antibodies)

Indoor smoking ban tied to heart attack decline in older adults. Heart attack rates dropped among older adults in Scotland in the decade after a nationwide indoor smoking ban took effect, a new study suggests. Reuters Health, 07/19/2019.

Fathers who smoke raise the risk of their grandchildren developing ADHD, study suggests. Fathers who smoke raise the risk of their children and even their grandchildren developing ADHD, a new study suggests.Mail Online, 10/16/2018.

Smoking in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc): a Longitudinal European Scleroderma Trials and Research Group Study. The known adverse effect of smoking on bronchial airways and alveoli is observed in SSc patients, but not on the progression of SSc–specific pulmonary or cutaneous manifestations. PubMed, Arthritis Rheumatol, 05/21/2018.

Smoking Cessation Support. Includes quit smoking action plan. American Lung Association.

Nasal Gels

Never use Vaseline to moisturize the inside of your nose. Its an oil-based product and may be inhaled into your lungs and thus cause problems. Always use a water-based moisturizing product, such as Ayr Saline Nasal Gel.

Go to Prognosis of Scleroderma Lung Involvement

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