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.

No Such Thing as a Healthy Smoker. Smokers who think they are escaping the lung–damaging effects of inhaled tobacco smoke may have to think again, according to the findings of two major new studies. New York Times, 06/20/2016.

Cigarette smoking in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc). Physicians caring for SSc patients should prioritize smoking cessation and resources directed to supporting smoking cessation in patients with SSc should be available. Marie Hudson (PubMed) Arthritis Rheum, [2010]

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

SmokeNoMore Support Program Online free support group for learning how to live a smoke-free life. Requires daily contact with the 90-day program. COPD Support, Inc.

Smoking Cessation. VeryWell.

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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