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Living With Raynaud's

Primary Raynaud's (Raynaud's disease) and secondary Raynaud's (Raynaud's phenomenon) can be lifelong conditions. However, you can take steps to help control Raynaud's. Lifestyle changes and ongoing care can help you manage the disorder.

Most people who have primary Raynaud's can manage the disorder with lifestyle changes. People who have secondary Raynaud's may need medicines in addition to lifestyle changes. Rarely, they may need surgery or shots.

Lifestyle Changes

You can take steps to avoid things that trigger Raynaud's attacks. If you have Raynaud's:

  • Protect yourself from cold temperatures.
  • Try to avoid emotional stress and learn ways to cope with stress that you can't avoid.
  • Avoid certain medicines, substances, and activities that can trigger Raynaud's attacks. (For more information, go to "What Causes Raynaud's?")
  • Include physical activity as part of your healthy lifestyle and limit your use of caffeine and alcohol. If you smoke, quit. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.

You also can take steps to stop a Raynaud's attack once it starts. Warm up your hands, feet, or other affected areas right away. For example, place your hands under your armpits, run warm water over your fingers and toes, or massage your hands and feet.

If you have Raynaud's, be sure to take care of your hands and feet. Protect them from cuts, bruises, and other injuries. For example, wear properly fitted shoes and don't walk barefoot. Use lotion to prevent your skin from drying and cracking. Also, avoid tight wristbands and rings.

For more information about lifestyle changes, go to "How Is Raynaud's Treated?"

Ongoing Care

If you have Raynaud's, it's important to get ongoing care. Talk with your doctor about how often to schedule followup visits. Take all medicines as your doctor prescribes.

See your doctor right away if your Raynaud's symptoms get worse or if you develop sores on your fingers, toes, or other parts of your body. Timely treatment can help prevent permanent damage to these areas.

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March 21, 2014