To reduce Raynaud's symptoms, wear gloves or mittens outdoors when the weather is cool and indoors when you reach into the freezer. To maintain your body's core temperature, dress in layers and wear a hat or scarf, thermal socks, and well-fitting boots or shoes that don't cut off your circulation.
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about the best ways to quit. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels, making Raynaud's phenomenon worse.
Change eating habits
If you have difficulty swallowing, choose soft, moist foods and chew them well. To minimize acid reflux:
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Avoid spicy or fatty foods, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol
- Don't exercise immediately before or after eating
- Sit upright for two or three hours after a meal
Protect your skin
Excess collagen destroys sweat and oil glands, leaving your skin stiff and dry. To help soften your skin:
- Avoid harsh soaps and detergents. Choose cleansing creams or gentle skin cleansers and bath or shower gels with added moisturizers.
- Reduce bathing frequency. Bathe just once a day or every other day, and take brief baths and showers, using warm rather than hot water.
- Moisturize. Apply a rich oil-based moisturizer immediately after washing your hands or bathing, while your skin is still damp.
- Apply sunscreen. To prevent further damage to your skin, apply sunscreen before you go outside.
- Use a humidifier. Increase moisture levels in your home by using a humidifier.
Practice good oral hygiene
Be sure to have regular checkups and use any special rinses or toothpastes your dentist recommends. If your mouth is chronically dry, try drinking more water and sucking on ice chips or hard, sugarless candy. When these measures fail, your dentist may prescribe a medication to stimulate the flow of saliva.
Jun. 02, 2011
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- Ferri FF. Scleroderma (progressive systemic sclerosis). In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--sc29005&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&sid=1149581384&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--s29225&uniqId=239740754-5#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00028-7--s29225. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Systemic sclerosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec04/ch032/ch032h.html. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Steen VD. The many faces of scleroderma. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2008;34:1.
- Autoimmune connective tissue disease. In: Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--sc0040&isbn=978-1-4377-0986-5&sid=1149586698&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--s0715&uniqId=239740754-7#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0986-5..00007-7--s0715. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Handout on health: Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed April 23, 2011.
- Agarwal SK, et al. Genetics and genomic studies in scleroderma (systemic sclerosis). Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2008;34:17.