Credit: Dr. Tracy Davenport
Raynaud’s Syndrome (RS) is a largely neglected disease affecting between three and 10 percent of the population. The disorder causes pain and discoloration in fingers and toes in response to cold temperatures or stress. If you are living with this condition, there are several things you can do to survive the colder months.
See your doctor
Raynaud’s can occur as an isolated condition (primary RS) or in association with another condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (secondary RS). If you suspect you have RS, see a doctor to rule out a different and potentially more serious condition.
Avoid the cold
This is often easier said than done. However, if you are living with RS, you should recognize that this can be a serious disorder and take as many steps as possible to stay as warm as possible. Keeping your core warm, as well your fingers and toes, is vitally important. Wearing a thin layer of clothes beneath your regular outfits in the winter months may be helpful. Having multiple pairs of gloves stored in different places can also be a good idea.
Warm your fingers and toes as needed
After a Raynaud’s attack, warm your extremities so as to not cause further injury. This can involve using hand-held warmers, running warm water over your extremities, or exercising the affected parts of your body until the color returns.
Smoking constricts blood vessels which limits blood flow to fingers and toes. Smoking can therefore worsen Raynaud’s symptoms.
Consider drug therapy
A number of drug treatments have been tried and studied to treat RS, but there are no specific drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for RS. However, there are pharmaceuticals designed for other conditions that have been successful in the treatment of RS. Your doctor will be able to tell you about the successes and possible side effects of the different drug options.
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Dr. Tracy Davenport is a health writer, advocate and entrepreneur who has been helping individuals live their best life. She is co-author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux. Follow Tracy’s love of smoothies on Twitter.