What is Raynaud’s disease?
Raynaud’s disease is a rare disorder of the blood vessels, usually in the fingers and toes. It causes the blood vessels to narrow when your body temperature is low or you are stressed. Hence, blood can’t get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue. When the blood flow returns, the skin turns red and throbs or tingles. In severe cases, loss of blood flow can cause sores or tissue death.
How bad is my Raynaud’s disease?
Mild: It is more common and the symptoms are often mild such as numbness and tingling. Most of the time, it can be safely managed at home by following the tips given below.
Moderate: It is less common, but more likely to cause skin sores and stinging pain. It can sometimes be safely managed at home but may require your doctor’s attention.
Severe: Consult your doctor immediately if have joint ache, skin rashes, muscle weakness, gangrene or symptoms are getting worse. It may limit your self-care activities of daily life (eating, dressing, getting into or out of a bed or chair, taking a bath or shower, and using the toilet).
How to manage early symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?
Keep track of your symptoms using Ankr (myAnkr web portal or the Ankr app). It will help you describe the discomfort to your doctor or nurse.
Raynaud’s disease has no cure. However, treatments can reduce the number and severity of Raynaud’s attacks. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medicines, and, rarely, surgery.
Most people who have mild Raynaud’s can manage the condition with lifestyle changes. People who have moderate and severe Raynaud’s may need medicines in addition to lifestyle changes. Rarely, they may need surgery.
- Warm your hands and feet. In cold weather, you should go indoors. Running warm water over your fingers and toes or soaking them in a bowl of warm water will also help.
- Learning relaxation techniques will help to end an attack.
- Prevent dryness or cracking of the skin by applying a moisturizer or hand cream, especially after washing your hands.
- Quit smoking
- Learn to manage stress
- Calcium- channel blockers relax smooth muscles and dilate the small blood vessels. These drugs decrease the frequency and severity of attacks. It also can help heal skin ulcers on the fingers or toes.
How to manage severe symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?
If you have developed sores on your fingers, toes, or other parts of your body, see your doctor right away. Timely treatment can help prevent permanent damage to these areas.
What causes Raynaud’s disease?
- An attack of Raynaud’s is usually triggered by exposure to cold or emotional stress.
- Certain medications including beta blockers, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications, certain chemotherapy agents, and drugs that cause blood vessels to narrow.
- Injuries to the hands or feet
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