Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon
Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon:
The most effective treatment plan for Raynaud's phenomenon employs a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors and underlying causes of Raynaud's phenomenon. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor for and treat high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Treatment includes diet and lifestyle changes and may include a smoking cessation program, medications, such as cholesterol lowering medications, antihypertensive drugs, and drugs that lower blood sugar. Treatment also includes diagnosing and treating any underlying causes, such as scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Meticulous foot and skin care is also important for people with Raynaud's phenomenon in order to prevent the development of lesions and infections. This includes keeping skin and feet clean, warm, and dry. Avoiding injury to the feet and wearing shoes that are comfortable and protective is also key. A person with Raynaud's phenomenon should also inspect their feet daily and seek prompt medical care for any sores or ulcers that develop.
Treatment also includes avoiding situations that trigger symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon. These include avoiding the cold or protecting your hands and feet from cold temperatures. Using hand and foot warmers is a good idea in cold temperature. It is also important to minimize and address stress with lifestyle interventions, such as exercise or meditation. If certain medications are causing symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon, they may need to be adjusted or changed. However, it is very important not to change or discontinue medications without consulting with your physician.
Treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon includes moving to a warmer spot when symptoms occur, soaking the hands and feet in warm water, and wiggling the fingers and toes.
Treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon that does not respond to lifestyle interventions may include medications that keep the blood vessels open, such as calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, prescription skin creams, and ACE inhibitors. In rare cases, surgery may be recommended to block the nerves that control the capillaries to prevent them from spasming and constricting.
Treatment List for Raynaud's phenomenon
The list of treatments mentioned in various sources
for Raynaud's phenomenon
includes the following list.
Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment
or change in treatment plans.
Alternative Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Raynaud's phenomenon may include:
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Discussion of treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon:
Questions and Answers about Raynaud's Phenomenon: NIAMS (Excerpt)
The aims of treatment are to reduce the number and
severity of attacks and to prevent tissue damage and loss in the fingers
and toes. Most doctors are conservative in treating patients with
primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon; that is, they recommend
nondrug treatments and self-help measures first. Doctors may prescribe
medications for some patients, usually those with secondary Raynaud's
phenomenon. In addition, patients are treated for any underlying disease
or condition that causes secondary Raynaud's phenomenon.
Nondrug Treatments and Self-Help Measures
Several nondrug treatments and self-help measures can
decrease the severity of Raynaud's attacks and promote overall
- Take action during an attack--An attack should not be
ignored. Its length and severity can be lessened by a few simple
actions. The first and most important action is to warm the hands or
feet. In cold weather, people should go indoors. Running warm water
over the fingers or toes or soaking them in a bowl of warm water will
warm them. Taking time to relax will further help to end the attack.
If a stressful situation triggers the attack, a person can help stop
the attack by getting out of the stressful situation and relaxing.
People who are trained in biofeedback can use this technique along
with warming the hands or feet in water to help lessen the attack.
- Keep warm--It is important not only to keep the extremities
warm but also to avoid chilling any part of the body. In cold weather,
people with Raynaud's phenomenon must pay particular attention to
dressing. Several layers of loose clothing, socks, hats, and gloves or
mittens are recommended. A hat is important because a great deal of
body heat is lost through the scalp. Feet should be kept dry and warm.
Some people find it helpful to wear mittens and socks to bed during
winter. Chemical warmers, such as small heating pouches that can be
placed in pockets, mittens, boots, or shoes, can give added protection
during long periods outdoors. People who have secondary Raynaud's
phenomenon should talk to their doctors before exercising outdoors in
People with Raynaud's phenomenon should also be
aware that air conditioning can trigger attacks. Turning down the air
conditioning or wearing a sweater may help prevent attacks. Some
people find it helpful to use insulated drinking glasses and to put on
gloves before handling frozen or refrigerated foods.
- Quit smoking--The nicotine in cigarettes causes the skin
temperature to drop, which may lead to an attack.
- Control stress--Because stress and emotional upsets may
trigger an attack, particularly for people who have primary Raynaud's
phenomenon, learning to recognize and avoid stressful situations may
help control the number of attacks. Many people have found that
relaxation or biofeedback training can help decrease the number and
severity of attacks. Biofeedback training teaches people to bring the
temperature of their fingers under voluntary control. Local hospitals
and other community organizations, such as schools, often offer
programs in stress management.
- Exercise--Many doctors encourage patients who have
Raynaud's phenomenon, particularly the primary form, to exercise
regularly. Most people find that exercise promotes overall well-being,
increases energy level, helps control weight, and promotes restful
sleep. Patients with Raynaud's phenomenon should talk to their doctors
before starting an exercise program.
- See a doctor--People with Raynaud's phenomenon should see
their doctors if they are worried or frightened about attacks or if
they have questions about caring for themselves. They should always
see their doctors if attacks occur only on one side of the body (one
hand or one foot) and any time an attack results in sores or ulcers on
the fingers or toes.
Treatment With Medications
People with secondary Raynaud's phenomenon are more likely
than those with the primary form to be treated with medications. Many
doctors believe that the most effective and safest drugs are
calcium-channel blockers, which relax smooth muscle and dilate the small
blood vessels. These drugs decrease the frequency and severity of
attacks in about two-thirds of patients who have primary and secondary
Raynaud's phenomenon. These drugs also can help heal skin ulcers on the
fingers or toes.
Other patients have found relief with drugs called alpha
blockers that counteract the actions of norepinephrine, a hormone that
constricts blood vessels. Some doctors prescribe a nonspecific
vasodilator (drug that relaxes blood vessels), such as nitroglycerine
paste, which is applied to the fingers, to help heal skin ulcers.
Patients should keep in mind that the treatment for Raynaud's phenomenon
is not always successful. Often, patients with the secondary form will
not respond as well to treatment as those with the primary form of the
Patients may find that one drug works better than another.
Some people may experience side effects that require stopping the
medication. For other people, a drug may become less effective over
time. Women of childbearing age should know that the medications used to
treat Raynaud's phenomenon may affect the growing fetus. Therefore,
women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should avoid
taking these medications if possible.
- Take action during an attack
- Keep warm
- Don't smoke
- Control stress
- Exercise regularly
- See a doctor if questions or concerns develop
(Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers about Raynaud's Phenomenon: NIAMS
NHLBI, Raynaud's Phenomenon: NHLBI (Excerpt)
Patients with primary Raynaud's are taught how to
prevent attacks (see below). In patients with secondary Raynaud's, doctors first
treat the underlying cause. Vasodilators--drugs that help relax artery walls to
improve blood flow--may be prescribed for patients with secondary Raynaud's or
primary Raynaud's that resists other forms of therapy.
Are there ways to prevent
Yes. People suffering from Raynaud's should protect
themselves from cold and keep all parts of their body warm--not just their
extremities. Outdoors in winter, they should wear scarves, warm socks and boots,
and mittens or gloves under mittens because gloves alone allow heat to escape.
People with Raynaud's should also wear wristlets to close the space between the
sleeve and mitten. Indoors, people should wear socks and comfortable shoes. When
taking food out of the refrigerator or freezer, they should wear mittens, oven
mitts, or pot holders.
Patients with Raynaud's should guard against cuts, bruises, and other
injuries to the affected areas. Activities such as sewing may have to be
Patients who smoke should quit. Doctors may also adjust medications if the
drugs appear to be responsible for the symptoms.
After several sessions of training, patients can often prevent or stop
attacks using biofeedback, a technique in which patients are taught to "think"
their fingers or toes warm.
It is important for persons who suspect they have Raynaud's to talk with
their personal physicians. The doctor can give advice on the best ways to manage
and treat the problem. (Source: excerpt from NHLBI, Raynaud's Phenomenon: NHLBI)
Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC (Excerpt)
Treatment is aimed at reducing the number and severity of attacks and
preventing tissue damage and loss in the fingers and toes. Most doctors
are conservative in treating patients with primary and secondary Raynaudís
phenomenon; that is, they recommend nondrug treatments and self-help
measures first. Doctors may prescribe medications for some patients,
usually those with secondary Raynaudís phenomenon. In addition, patients
are treated for any underlying disease or condition that causes secondary
Raynaudís phenomenon. (Source: excerpt from Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC)
Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC (Excerpt)
Do not ignore an attack of Raynaudís phenomenon. Run warm water over
your hands and/or feet. Also, relax. Biofeedback can also be used to
minimize length and severity. Preventing attacks is aided by keeping your
extremities warm, not smoking, controlling stress and getting more
exercise. (Source: excerpt from Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC)
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