Lupus has made me very cold-natured, but having secondary Raynaud’s has made me very conscious of the cold.
Do you know what Raynaud’s Phenomenon is? Be sure to read my blog on Raynaud’s for more information.
I wanted to delve a little deeper into what I do to manage my Raynaud’s symptoms and issues. Living with this problem during the colder months is definitely a huge part of my life!
So. What do I do?
I normally do best if I am moving about, and also if I stay dry and warm. This means I try to stay inside if possible. I keep my clothes, especially socks, dry. If I HAVE to be outside I try to dress in layers, and of course I keep myself covered, specifically my hands and feet, but also my head and neck to stay warm. I use fingerless gloves if it is below 50°F just to ensure my hands stay warm. Especially if I have to touch cold surfaces like my car’s steering wheel.
If I feel chilled, I drink lots of hot liquids… even hot water! I find that drinking water colder than room temperature during the winter will make me chilly and can bring on a Raynaud’s attack.
If I am sitting still (like I am to write this blog!) I use blankets, warm clothes, and slippers to stay warm. Also, I use my puppies, especially Duncan, who likes to sit near my feet. 🙂 I have an electric throw-sized blanket, booties I can stick in the microwave, and a heated mouse (which I highly recommend) to keep my mouse hand warm.
Keep in mind that smoking, stress and caffeine can all make symptoms worse. I try to watch my caffeine, and really, who wants stress, but I definitely don’t smoke. Alcohol can help relax you, and is a mild vasodilator (an agent that induces or initiates the blood vessels to widen, or dilate). It will help you feel warm… but most physicians don’t recommend it except in small amounts.
Of course, always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, but I take fermented cod liver oil, gingko biloba, and magnesium. I just recently started taking gingko, but I do know that either the fish oil or magnesium has made a huge difference for me. I haven’t had nearly as many Raynaud’s attacks this winter as I did last year. As my stress levels haven’t changed, I think one of these supplements is working!
Exercise (especially regular exercise) helps with circulation. Sometimes, just windmilling my arms to get the blood flowing to my hands will help to fend off, or stop an attack. I also try to massage my hands and feet to increase circulation.
My husband also knows how to win my heart: turning the electric blanket on my side of the bed to high to get it warm before I climb in bed. And flannel sheets all the way baby! It’s the little things. 😉
If you notice new symptoms or if they worsen, be sure to speak with your physician. It is important to reduce your number of attacks as they may worsen the more you have. Plus they may be painful, or at the least, uncomfortable.
Some products I would like to try in the future:
I lovelovelove my ValueRays Heated Mouse which my husband bought for me a few years ago, so I’m interested to see how these other products might also help!
What have you found to help with your Raynaud’s or circulation issues?