How To Recognize Raynaud’s Disease
If you have experienced Raynaud’s Disease, you may associate it with feelings of cold, followed by feelings of hot or burning on the ends of your fingers. It changes skin color and temperature, most often on the fingers, as pallor, cyanosis, and eventually redness.
It usually occurs with exposure to cold. The weak blood flow can be accompanied by pain or stinging.
There are two types of Raynaud’s Disease:
- Primary – occurs when there is no specific medical cause
- Secondary – occurs with another disease (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, thyroid disorders, atherosclerosis)
Causes and symptoms of Raynaud’s disease
The causes can be an excessive reaction of the blood vessels in the arms and legs to low temperatures or stress. The body slows down the blood flow in the fingers to maintain body temperature. In people with Raynaud’s syndrome, this otherwise normal reaction is exaggerated.
The small arteries narrow and reduce blood flow to the affected areas. Also, over time, they can become thicker, and the result is the same – reduced blood flow.
The affected skin becomes pale, blue, or red, becomes swollen, and cramps may occur. Although it commonly affects the fingers or toes, it can also affect other parts of the body. The described phenomenon can last less than a minute and even up to several hours.
- As a first step, warming is recommended.
- General measures include advice to avoid cold, tobacco, stress, physical exertion.
- Symptomatic treatment involves the use of vasodilators.
- Surgical treatment can lead to a transient improvement in blood flow to the fingers.
Self-help and prevention of Raynaud’s disease
- Wear gloves and socks, preferably of natural fibers.
- Dress in layers to control your condition and the warmth.
- The materials that keep heat best are wool, silk, and polypropylene.
- You can improve circulation with daily exercise.
- Regular massage will also help solve the problem.
- You may need to consume magnesium supplements, flavonoids, vitamins B and E, and essential fatty acids.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption.
- Add spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon to your diet.
- Drink a cup of tea from these plants every day.
- Depending on your options, try to have relaxing baths in warm but not too hot water at least three times a week.
[Related article: What To Do About Severe Finger Injuries]
If you suspect that you are suffering from this condition, contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yospur, who holds a fellowship in surgery of the hand.