Jan 18, 2012

How to cope with RAYNAUD'S .....

People affected by Raynaud's phenomenon tend to be very sensitive to cold temperatures. Their body is sort of allergic to the cold and it reacts by constricting the blood vessels in the extremities and thus reducing blood flow to fingers, toes and sometimes also nose and ears. Very cold hands or feet can appear extremely white simply because of the lack of blood across the extremities. This lack of blood across the digits causes a reduction in oxygen and consequently fingers or toes can look blue or purple. When the extremities start getting warm again they become red and they might start feeling tingly, numb or burning. Warming your extremities in an unnatural and quick way (like putting them under hot water or in front of a heater or against a hot water bottle) can lead to getting chilblains which are red swollen areas which itch a lot, burn and can at times rupture and get infected.

After 12 years of getting chilblains almost each year I assure you it's not a pleasant thing to cope with, especially when you know you are bound to have it each winter unless we all move to Mauritius or the Maldives. Since no pills and creams can reduce the pain and burning sensation once it starts (I have tried them all even at the cost of getting low pressure as a side effect) I would suggest doing all you can to manage your Raynaud's and avoiding getting chilblains. Below are my tips on how to cope with Raynaud's and avoid trigerring attacks and getting chilblains.

  1. EXERCISE daily & keep moving throughout the day. This is especially important if you are a full time student and spend most of your days studying on a chair. It is also fundamental if you are a clerk and have to stay all day in front of a PC. Try to stand and walk as much as you can when you get the chance.
  2. EAT HEALTHY & watch your weight. Being overweight or worst obese will affect negatively your circulation and make it less difficult to avoid chilblains. Read these articles to get some tips on eating healthy and losing weight  http://alessiapearl.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-start-eating-healthy-ask-alessia.html and  http://alessiapearl.blogspot.com/2011/11/how-can-i-lose-weight-asks-alessia.html.
  3. Keep your entire body smooth and moisturized. Use a scrub while showering, a non drying shower product and a good body lotion. These posts might help  http://alessiapearl.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-smooth-soft-legs-reduced-ingrown.html and  http://alessiapearl.blogspot.com/2011/10/sugar-scrubfor-daily-body-exfoliating.html.
  4. STAY WARM both indoors and outdoors (with heating and extra layers).
  5. DO NOT EXAGERATE WITH HEATING TEMPERATURE as it will suck out moisture and dry your body. Moreover, it can also trigger an attack.
  6. KEEP YOUR BODY TEMPERATURE STEADY avoiding abrupt changes so as not to trigger an attack (itching and burning). If you feel too warm start lowering your body temperature slowly by removing one layer at a time. If you feel cold try heating yourself up with movement (jump, dance, walk, shake yourself, exercise). Add layers one at a time.
  7. Keep your arms and feet extra warm especially when outdoors.
  8. Use a moisturizing dermatological wash (E45 emollient wash) & an intense hand cream (NEUTROGENA NORWEGIAN FORMULA) at least 3 times a day. This post might be of interest  http://alessiapearl.blogspot.com/2012/02/best-winter-hand-cream-is.html
  9. For my feet I like to wear 2 pair of socks. When I am at home, 1 pair of slipper socks and another woolen to keep me extra warm. For outdoors I like to wear 1 pair of ballet socks and a pair of cotton socks.
  10. When watching TV or working on my laptop I like to cover myself with my fuzzy housecoat.
  11. FIND A WAY TO WARM YOURSELF WHEN GOING TO SLEEP. For me heating my body while sleeping has always been impossible. I used to remain cold all night no matter how many layers I would be wearing. This winter I have discovered that I can warm myself up and stay warm if I go to bed earlier and either read, watch a film, browse online first in a seated position and then lying down. This way I can heat myself and the bed at the same time and stay warm all night.
  12. If your hands/feet get too warm remove gloves/socks/ or a layer of clothing and apply a refreshing cream.
  13. AVOID too hot drinks and food, too spicy food and alcohol as all of these can cause abrupt changes in your body temperature and thus lead to chilblains.
  14. STAY AWAY FROM DIRECT HEAT like a heater, the oven especially for long times.
  15. DO NOT TOUCH FREEZING WATER OR FROZEN FOOD. Use protective gloves or ask someone to do it for you.
  16. If it helps heat your water and do not drink cold/refrigerated liquids. Also try to eat warm food.
  17. If possible avoid late evening showers.
  18. Watch humidity levels in your home.
  19. I like to iron my clothes before wearing them to stay warm.
  20. I wear weight lifting gloves when exercising.

STAY FAB by staying healthy!



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