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Raynaud's Prevention

Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Video Overview
Acclimate
Avoid Alcohol

Avoid Bad Vibrations
Avoid Cold
Avoid Pressure
Avoid Smoking
Avoid Stress
Avoid Vasocontrictors (Caffeine, Cocaine, Marijuana, Nicotine)
Biofeedback

Video Overview

Raynaud's Prevention in Systemic Scleroderma Video
Video: Raynaud's Prevention in Systemic Scleroderma

Presented by Amanda Thorpe
*More Sclero Videos*

If you have Raynauds, try to stay in warm environments. Keep gloves or mittens available and put them on before your hands get cold.

Keep core body temperature up because the body takes blood from the extremities when the heart and brain become chilled.

About clothing, wearing layers, thermal underwear and if necessary warm clothing all year around, who cares what the fashion is!

Avoid caffeine, herbs and medications that restrict blood vessels. When typing take breaks, do hand exercises, or use voice-command software.

When shopping use shoulder bags, backpacks or a trolley.

Stress can also trigger Raynaud's so make changes to reduce and manage it.

Raynaud's in scleroderma can become so severe as to require amputation so keeping aggressively warm as well as promptly treating all Raynaud's attacks is essential for all people with scleroderma. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma and Systemic Symptoms)

Acclimation Can Prevent Raynaud's

Can Cold Acclimation Prevent Raynaud's? Patients with Raynaud's phenomenon will acclimate to cold temperatures. In fact, Raynaud's is worse during shifting temperatures, such as changing seasons (particularly the fall) than in the middle of the winter. More interesting, a group tried to reduce Raynaud's by putting the hands in warm water while chilling the body; after several sessions, the cold exposure no longer caused Raynaud's. Dr. Frederick Wigley, New York Times.

Avoid Alcohol

In susceptible people, Raynaud's can occur very easily by exposure to cold, stress, or vibrations. Attacks may also be induced by ingesting alcohol, caffeine, marijuana, nicotine, or other vasoconstricting drugs.

Smoking, Alcohol and Raynaud's. Heavy alcohol consumption was independently associated with increased odds of Raynaud's among women and red wine consumption was associated with reduced odds of Raynaud's. Men who drank red wine also had a lower prevalence of the condition than those who did not. Smoking negated the positive effects of moderate red wine consumption in men. Arthritis Foundation.

Avoid Bad Vibrations

Powered-Tool Usage Leads to Artery Damage. Past studies have shown that years of working with hand held powered-tools could cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), known as secondary Raynaud's disease of occupational origin. Researchers demonstrated that four hours of vibration causes blood vessel constriction and produces damage to arterial smooth muscle and the endothelial cells which line the vessels. Newswise, Medical College of Wisconsin, [2004].

Avoid Cold

Stay indoors and in warm environments as much as possible.

Keep a pair of gloves or mittens available at all times. Put them on before your hands get cold.

Wear mittens or gloves when taking things out of the freezer or refrigerator, and grocery shopping.

Use heating aids for keeping the hands and feet warm. See rewarming techniques.

Keep your chest and head well covered to keep your core body temperature high. This works because the body needs to keep the heart and brain warm. When they become chilled, the body conserves heat by depriving blood from the extremities.

Dress in layers and in thermal clothing. Wear silk underwear, because it keeps the body warm. Shop in the sporting goods department for thermal socks, underwear and vests. Wear warm clothing year around, if air conditioning poses a problem.

Avoid Pressure on Fingertips

Typing can induce Raynaud's and cause discomfort to sore fingertips. Take frequent breaks, do hand exercises, use a Heatsock for a wrist rest, or use voice-command software.

Use shoulder bags, backpacks or a shopping trolley to transport items. This will prevent too much pressure from being applied to sore fingers and will prevent restriction of the blood supply to the hands and fingers.

Avoid Smoking

Digital Ulcers. Nicotine causes the blood vessels to narrow. It has been proved that smoking one cigarette has been shown to decrease the temperature of the extremities by one degree over a twenty minute period. Passive smoking can also be dangerous so encourage anyone who lives with you to stop smoking and avoid places where cigarette smoke is likely to be present. Patients with scleroderma who smoke are three to four times more likely than are non smokers to incur digital vascular complications. Raynaud's and Scleroderma Association.

To quit smoking, it's best to go cold turkey, study finds. When it comes to quitting smoking, researchers acknowledge more people might try to quit gradually, but find that going cold turkey is most effective. Los Angeles Times, 03/14/2016.

A score of risk factors associated with ischemic digital ulcers (DUs) in patients affected by systemic sclerosis treated with iloprost. In this retrospective study, scleroderma patients with ischemic DUs are characterized by early disease onset, delay in beginning iloprost therapy, smoking habit, and presence of joint contraction. A score reflecting the sum of these factors may be useful to predict the risk of developing ischemic DUs. P. Caramaschi. (Springerlink) Clinical Rheumatology. [2009]. (Also see Digital Ulcers)

Tobacco smoking and autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Smoking affects both the course and the outcome of rheumatic diseases. (PubMed) Nat Clin Pract Rheumatol. [2007]. (Also see Pulmonary)

Avoid Stress

Reduce stress and use relaxation techniques, since stress can trigger Raynaud's. Biofeedback may help, however its often less effective in Scleroderma patients than in those with primary Raynaud's.

Arguments dramatically slow wound healing!

Arguments dramatically slow wound healing. The stress a married couple experiences during a 30-minute argument can delay their bodies' ability to heal a wound by at least a day, according to a new study. And if the couples' relationship endures routine hostility, the delay can be even longer. There could be important implications for people suffering from chronic wounds, such as skin ulcers. New Scientist. (Also see Causes of Scleroderma: Stress)

Avoid Vasoconstrictors such as Caffeine, Cocaine, Marijuana and Nicotine

Caffeine, cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, novacaine and many herbs and medications restrict blood vessels. So they are a great big no-no for people with Raynaud's!

Be on guard for hidden sources of caffeine in tea, soda, chocolate, some aspirins, herbal preparations, and medications.

Smokers With Systemic Sclerosis Risk Severe Digital Vascular Complications. Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) who smoke are three to four times more likely than are never-smokers to incur digital vascular complications, researchers in England have found. Doctor's Guide. (Also see Digital Ulcers)

Caffeine also worsens heartburn/reflux in Scleroderma by relaxing the esophageal sphincter and allowing the stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus. It's usually easier to quit caffeine gradually (over the course of a week or so) rather than "cold turkey".

Crissie: Surviving Sister of Scleroderma Patient I also want everyone to know that if you have Raynaud's, scleroderma or lupus, please, please do not smoke or drink…

Biofeedback

Biofeedback is highly effective for primary Raynaud's disease, but often less effective for secondary Raynaud's.

Biofeedback. Biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control your body's functions, such as your heart rate. With biofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). Mayo Clinic.

Go to Raynaud's: Rewarming Tips
 
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