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  #11  
Old 01-03-2011
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My mom had Reynauds for the last 34 years of her life. Ten years of this period she lived on boats. While she was careful to avoid cold, she lived a pretty normal life otherwise. On the other hand she had friends with Reynauds who were going downhill much more rapidly than she. I don't know whether you are a smoker but smoking can greatly accelerate the decline. Staying out of the cold obviously makes a big difference as well.

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Old 01-04-2011
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Hi, Cordwainer -- sorry to hear about your Raynauds. Peripheral circulation problems can be downright painful. Several rock climbers I know -- mostly women -- have faced similar issues: cold stone will drain the heat right out of your fingers. Some found relief thru steroidal treatments -- the capillary clamp-down seems to be hormonally triggered -- and thru meditation. That latter sounds goofy, but Raynauds does correlate with limbic responses to stress or anxiety, and meditation has been shown to reduce stress hormones in the blood. So if you have an interest in that line, a regimen of yoga or meditation or tai chi or deep breathing exercises may yield surprising results.

Other climbers have found hot-plunge therapy beneficial in the short- to medium-term. They basically stick their hands (& or feet) into water heated right to the edge of pain. Start at 'very warm' and ratchet up the water temps over time. After a few minutes, pull out your digits, let em cool to room temp, and plunge em again. The intent is to 'teach' your blood vessels to dilate by engorging them with blood over and over. Some think this cycling encourages greater elasticity in the vessel walls. It definitely increases general blood flow to the tissues in your hands and feet, which can accelerate healing and cause more capillaries to grow. Your hands should look bright pink when you pull them out of the hot water -- a sign blood flow has been amped up. Google "Murray Hamlet Raynaud's". And here's a couple informed articles:

Beyond cold feet: painfully cold fingers and toes may signal Raynaud's disease | Vegetarian Times | Find Articles at BNET

Peripheral circulation and cold adaptation in Raynaud's phenomenon - Medical Anthropology | Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients | Find Articles at BNET

Climbers with tendinitis problems do something similar but alternate hot plunges with ice baths -- again, the idea is to increase blood flow by repeatedly 'calling' for it via temperature variation. Probably the ice baths are not such a good idea w/ Raynauds. Usual advice: ask a doctor if they foresee any harm from experimenting with these techniques before proceeding. Best of luck!
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2011
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Cordwainer, I would suggest that keeping warm is literally a matter of life and death for many sports and pursuits, and that the doc who said "give up sailing" needs to get his head out of his, ahem.

Anyone who pursues winter sports can tell you that hypothermia and frostbite can kill. And, how to avoid them by eating properly, dressing properly, etc.

A wool watch cat to keep the head warm and preserve body heat. Wool or silk undercloths to keep the core warm and dry, and allow heat to get out to the limbs. And here in the US, Graber? Grabber? brand heat packs, which generate heat when exposed to air. They make a wide range now, including packs that slip into your gloves and boots, packs that stick to your clothes, great way to supplement body heat when you need it. Then there are also electric socks and gloves and vests, often sold to the snow ski and motorcycling markets.

Give up sailing? Hell no, just sail warm and dry. That's easily possible.
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