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Raynaud’s phenomenon

  • Treatment

    The following lifestyle changes may help people with Raynaud's phenomenon:

    • Stop smoking
    • Avoid caffeine
    • Stop and avoid medications that cause tightening or spasms of the blood vessels
    • Avoid exposure to cold in any form. Wear mittens or gloves outdoors and when handling ice or frozen food. Avoid getting chilled, which may happen after any active recreational sport.
    • Wear comfortable, roomy shoes and wool socks. When outside, always wear shoes.

    Your health care provider may prescribe medications to relax the walls of the blood vessels. These include topical nitroglycerin, calcium channel blockers, sildenafil (Viagra), and ace inhibitors.

    It is important to treat the condition causing Raynaud's phenomenon.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome varies depending on the cause and the severity of the condition.

    • Gangrene or ulceration of the skin may occur if an artery becomes completely blocked (most likely to occur in people who also have arthritis or autoimmune conditions)
    • Permanently decreased blood flow to the area can lead to thin and tapered fingers, with smooth, shiny skin and slow growing nails

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have a history of Raynaud's phenomenon and the affected body part (arm, hand, leg, foot, or other part) becomes infected or develops a sore
    • Your fingers change color and you do not know the cause
    • Your fingers or toes turn black or the skin breaks
    • You have a sore on the skin of your feet or hands
    • You have a fever, swollen or painful joints, or skin rashes