This condition happens when small blood vessels go into a temporary spasm in response to cold or stress. This causes the blood vessels to narrow, restricting the blood flow and causing those areas to turn white or blue. When the blood begins to flow again, the affected areas turn red and there may be numbness, tingling, or pain. It seems that sufferers are hypersensitive to changes in temperature and stress, which fits in with the theory that fibromyalgia is due to an oversensitive nervous system. The stress response naturally leads to blood vessels constricting, but those that suffer from Raynaud's have an exaggerated response.
How to Prevent Attacks
- Avoid exposure to cold as much as possible
- Wear layers of clothing in cold weather to help trap your body heat
- Wear gloves to keep your hands warm, even if you are getting this out of the freezer
- Be physically active to boost circulation and reduce stress
- Manage stress by pacing yourself and using relaxation techniques
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables - vitamin C and E help prevent damage to blood vessels
- Have at least one hot meal a day - a bowl of hot cereal for breakfast, soup for lunch
- Supplement with ginkgo biloba, which helps blood flow
- Take fish oils - they raise prostacyclin, a substance that blood vessels naturally produce to keep them dilated. It is believed that Raynaud's sufferers may lack this essential nutrient.