Common Triggers for Raynaud’s Attacks

It’s important to understand and identify the most likely common triggers for Raynaud’s attacks in order to best defend against attacks.

While each sufferer may have a different response or threshold level to key stimuli associated with Raynaud’s, the following triggers were noted in a recent article published in Yahoo! Voices

  • Cold – Beyond exposure to cold temperatures outdoors, the refrigerated section of the grocery store, an air-conditioned room, or just holding a cold soda can trigger a Raynaud’s attack.  So bring gloves when shopping or use an insulated cup or glass with a stem when drinking cold beverages to ward off attacks. (also check out our post on Cold Drink Strategies for Raynaud’s Sufferers.)
  • Stress – It’s not always that easy to recognize a stressful event is upon us, but it may help to practice some self-help techniques that work to relax the mind and body, such as biofeedback, tai-chi, or meditation.
  • Water – This trigger isn’t something we generally think about with Raynaud’s, but when the skin is wet, such as sweating after a workout or getting out of the tub, the body may work to match the temperature of the water and cause a drop in body temperature.  When doing outdoor sports (yes, some Frosties can successfully play outdoors!), wear wickable fabrics that draw moisture away from the skin and help maintain an appropriate body temperature.
  • Using Your Hands – There is literature supporting the use of vibrating tools or equipment resulting in Raynaud’s (Vibration White Finger).  Raynaud’s is also common among people whose occupations subject their hands/fingers to unusual wear and tear, such as typists, stenographers, pianists, construction workers and dentists.  While the average sufferer may not have true Vibration White Finger as the cause of their Raynaud’s, activities where the fingers are constantly tapping on keys (computer, piano) or are exposed to vibrations (power tools, dental drills) can potentially trigger attacks.
  • Chemicals – Raynaud’s sufferers should avoid chemicals that influence the circulatory system.  Included in this category are caffeine and alcohol (of course, the lack of both can trigger stress…).  The list also covers several drugs used in chemo treatments, chemicals found in lab environments, and those found in everyday over-the-counter drugs (antihistamines) which can work to constrict the blood vessels and cause issues for Raynaud’s sufferers.