7 Ways To Manage Symptoms Of Raynaud's Syndrome And Reduce The Frequency Of The Attacks
Have you heard about Raynaud’s syndrome? It's a condition that causes unpleasant sensations and a change in color affecting your hands, feet, and sometimes ears, nose, lips, and nipples when you are exposed to cold temperature or stress. About 5% of Americans are affected by the condition, and many of them don't even know about it. Here's why: If Raynaud's isn't caused by an underlying condition, its symptoms are usually mild and don't cause much discomfort. Secondary Raynaud's (also called Raynaud's phenomenon) is a result of existing medical conditions, and its symptoms are usually more severe.
Secondary Raynaud's may be caused by one of the following:
- Sjogren's syndrome;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- carpal tunnel syndrome;
- repetitive strain injuries and other injuries of the hands or feet;
- use of certain medicines;
During Raynaud's attacks, blood vessels in the hands, feet, or other affected body parts constrict. The affected body part changes color to pale, then to blue, and then turns red once the blood circulation is normal again. Other symptoms include numbness, coldness, pain, and tingling in the affected body part.
Raynaud's attacks can be extremely uncomfortable and interfere with your activities, but you can take steps to prevent them or at least make them last shorter.
7 ways to manage symptoms of Raynaud's syndrome
Below, we list a few measures that can help you manage symptoms of the condition.
1. Keep your hands and feet warm
As Raynaud's attacks can be triggered by cold, protect your hands with warm gloves or mittens, and your feet with warm footwear or an extra pair of socks before going outside in cold weather. Make sure your home is well-heated, and use a heating pad if your hands or feet start to get cold. Also, you can put your hands or feet in warm (not hot!) water to relieve your symptoms.
2. Don't smoke
Since smoking can damage blood vessels and lead to Raynaud's or aggravate existing Raynaud's, it's recommended to avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
3. Manage stress
Stress is another trigger of Raynaud's attacks. Avoid stressful situations when possible, and practice relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation, to stay calm in stressful situations.
Exercise improves blood circulation, so being physically active can help reduce the frequency of Raynaud's attacks. Just avoid exercising in cold environments.
5. Massage the affected area
Massage also improves circulation, so massage your hands and feet to prevent symptoms or to make them last shorter during an attack.
6. Give acupuncture a try
Some say acupuncture helps, some say it doesn't. Anyway, it’s a safe technique to try, and it may lessen your pain and improve circulation.
7. Take a closer look at your meds
Certain medicines, such as beta-blockers to treat high blood pressure, can constrict your blood vessels and make your Raynaud's worse. If you think your medicines are causing Raynaud's symptoms, ask your doctor what you can do about it.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.