A variety of steps can decrease Raynaud's attacks and help you feel better overall:
- Don't smoke. Smoking causes skin temperature to drop by constricting blood vessels, which may lead to an attack. Inhaling secondhand smoke also may aggravate Raynaud's.
- Exercise. Your doctor may encourage you to exercise regularly, particularly if you have primary Raynaud's. Exercise can increase circulation, among other health benefits.
- Control stress. Because stress may trigger an attack, learning to recognize and avoid stressful situations may help control the number of attacks.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine causes your blood vessels to narrow and may increase the signs and symptoms of Raynaud's.
- Take care of your hands and feet. If you have Raynaud's, guard your hands and feet from injury. Don't walk barefoot. Take care of your nails to avoid injuring sensitive toes and fingertips. In addition, avoid wearing anything that compresses blood vessels in your hands or feet, such as tight wristbands, rings or footwear.
- Avoid workplace triggers. Avoiding tools that vibrate the hand may reduce the frequency of attacks.
During an attack: What should you do?
What should you do if you're experiencing an attack of Raynaud's? The first and most important action is to warm your hands or feet or any other affected areas of skin. The following steps can help you gently warm your fingers and toes:
- Move to a warmer area.
- Place your hands under your armpits.
- Wiggle your fingers and toes.
- Make wide circles (windmills) with your arms.
- Run warm — but not hot — water over your fingers and toes.
- Massage your hands and feet.
If a stressful situation triggers an attack, you can help stop the attack by getting out of the stressful situation and relaxing. If you're trained in biofeedback, you can use this technique along with warming your hands or feet in water to help lessen the attack.
Oct. 20, 2011
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