RAYNAUD’S SYNDROME

CAUSES – Raynaud’s Disease is the term used to describe a vascular disorder of the circulatory system in the extremities.  In Raynaud’s disease, affected areas are fingers and toes, which become pale due to the constriction of the oxygen carrying blood vessels. When you have Raynaud’s Disease you experience a hyper reaction to cold temperatures or touching a cold item.  Numbness or tingling most frequently occurs in the toes or fingers.  Primary Raynaud’s is the restriction of blood flow to the extremities can be frequent but temporary and more common in women than men.

Statistics show more cases of this condition in cold climates and in the winter months.  The two forms of Raynaud’s syndrome are primary Raynaud’s, and secondary Raynaud’s.  Secondary Raynaud’s or Raynaud’s Phenomenon, is more often associated with another underlying medical condition like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  When someone has an attack of Raynaud’s phenomenon, the small arteries of the arms and legs shut down, which limits blood flow to the distal organs.  The Raynaud’s phenomenon attack usually lasts minutes, although sometimes it may last several hours.  Some common triggers for Raynaud’s include:

  • Going outside during frigid temperatures
  • Holding an iced drink
  • Walking into an air conditioned room
  • Putting your hands in the freezer
  • Putting hands under cold water
  • Emotional stress

Drug treatments can help, but the drugs used may have various side effects. Some of the drug treatments currently being used for Raynaud’s include:

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors

Studies have shown that biofeedback is capable of helping people with Raynaud’s Disease to control their hand temperatures and to increase blood flow to affected areas.  Allopathic medications that work on the principle of dilating the blood vessels in order to prevent the symptoms of Raynaud’s are calcium channel blockers.

Preventative measures are important in primary and secondary RP regardless of the severity. Simple initial care involves keeping the body warm, especially the extremities. Warm clothing in colder environments is essential. Barefoot walking should be minimized.

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