Raynaud’s Disease

What is Raynaud’s disease?
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?

We break it down into two categories depending on causes:

Primary Raynaud happens on its own. The cause is unknown. Primary Raynaud’s is more common and tends to be less severe than secondary Raynaud’s. The symptoms are often mild.

Secondary Raynaud is caused by injuries, other diseases, or certain medicines. It’s less common, but it’s more likely to cause serious health problems. This can include things like skin sores and gangrene. These happen when cells and tissue in your toes and fingers die from lack of blood.

How to manage early symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?

Primary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s disease) and secondary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s phenomenon) have 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 primary Raynaud’s can manage the condition with lifestyle changes. People who have secondary Raynaud’s may need medicines in addition to lifestyle changes. Rarely, they may need surgery or shots.

  • 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.
  • Smoking
  • Injuries to the hands or feet

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