Panic attacks & Raynauds

Hi everyone,

I was diagnosed with severe Raynaud's a couple of years back, and for the most part I've managed to cope with and live a 'normal' life; however I am incredibly sporty, and do endurance triathlons. I have found though that swimming in cold water at 6am does usually trigger an attack, putting me in a bad place for the cycle.

My question is whether having panic attacks during a Raynaud's episode is common? It seems that whenever it kicks in in full effect my breathing becomes very strained and my moral drops quite significantly.

Would appreciate any input from people.


5 Replies

  • Take a deep breath through your nose and hold it for 3 seconds then breath out slowly through your mouth. Repeat if necessary. Best wishes to you mate.

  • Hmm I've not experienced panic attacks and I've had Raynauds most of my life. Could it be psychological due to the possibility of it interfering with your passion of endurance triathlon? It makes sense that it could be imo.

  • Hi Rob interesting to hear you're experience. For me a bad raynauds attack brings with it a growing feeling of unease and if I'm in a place where I can't recover it easily i do feel a sense of panic until i can begin to fix it. A new joy for this winter is loss of circulation to my head so I feel dizzy and light headed as well as having cold blue hands and feet. Supermarkets are the worst!! Other people must think I'm nuts rushing up and down the aisles trying to get out asap! So I think your feeling of panic is logical - your head wants your body to recover. Keeping active is so important though - sometimes it's all uphill but worth the slog.

  • Sorry your not you're - my pet hate 😬 don't we love predictive text

  • Hi Rob I was diagnosed out of the blue with Raynaud's a few years ago. Previously I'd been very sporty racing cyclocross and running 10 k's and 1/2's.

    Ray's is very bad & painful and reduced me to tears at times, and I became increasingly anxious and panicy at thought of going out and triggering an attack and it did limit what i did - i avoided going out.

    I'm on meds now and have eventually moved 420 Miles south so haven't had an attack for a long time ironically it was in Provence when it was about 40 degrees (I jumped into a swimming pool and the temperature difference triggered it) when I last did.

    The anxiety has faded now the pain is no longer a threat, I guess it was a conditioned response as pain is a powerful reinforcer, so my advice is change factors that you can - note research shows nifedipine doesn't effect cycling ability and in my case has more or less stopped ray attacks in conjunction with avoiding triggers.

    I wear longs & full finger mitts most of the year round and haven't had an attack even on high speed descents (ventoux &c) I boil when climbing + have to strip layers on the fly but that's no biggie.

    Anxiety gone & no pain is worth buying more kit - triathlons fourth discipline!

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