6. Diagnosis of Raynaud’s
To diagnose Raynaud’s syndrome, your doctor will take your medical history, question you about your symptoms, and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may then perform tests to determine whether you have primary or secondary Raynaud’s. Nailfold capillaroscopy is a test where the physician will use a type of microscope to look through the epidermis at the base of your fingernail. This enables the physician to note any enlargement of the capillaries underneath. If your doctor suspects Raynaud’s is occurring secondary to another illness, further tests will likely be ordered.
5. Prevention of Attacks
If you suffer from Raynaud’s syndrome, there are steps you can take to prevent painful episodes. When going outdoors in cold temperatures, be sure to wear a warm coat. Dress in layers to stay toasty, including a hat, scarf, and two layers of gloves or mittens. If the cold temperatures of your refrigerator or freezer are enough to trigger an attack, use gloves or an oven mitt when adding or removing items. Discuss with your doctor and avoid medications such as over-the-counter allergy medications that may constrict your blood vessels. Similarly, if your attacks are triggered by stress, take measures to prevent stress. Research coping mechanisms for stresses that are unavoidable.
4. Treatment of the Syndrome
While there is no cure for Raynaud’s, lifestyle changes can be made to prevent the frequency of attacks. These include avoiding stressors or triggers that cause the constriction of blood vessels and arteries. Keep physically fit and exercise daily to improve blood flow to your extremities and to keep yourself warm. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these substances are known to trigger Raynaud’s. Smoking worsens Raynaud’s, so avoid smoking or being around smoke. Some Raynaud’s patients find their symptoms cannot be controlled by lifestyle changes alone. Medications that improve blood flow include calcium channel blockers and vasodilators. In extreme cases, shots may be given to block the nerves that control arteries in the hands or feet.