Raynaud’s Phenomenon: Symptoms, Types, Treatment, & Prevention
Jan 16 , 2021
Tags - Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a condition where contraction of arteries leads to low blood flow, usually affecting fingers and toes.
As a result, the affected region would turn white or blue, and cause pain and numbness.
But, when the blood flow returns to normal, the affected region would turn red and start burning. This period usually lasts a few minutes to hours, and cannot be predicted.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon is named after the physician who diagnosed this in 1862, Dr Maurice Raynaud. It has been diagnosed among 4% of the population.
The main symptoms of Raynaud's Phenomenon include
- Pins and needles
- Difficulty moving the affected area
- Change in skin colour
This disease is more common in cold regions.
Raynaud Phenomenon episodes are provoked by emotional stress, anxiousness or cold.
Luckily, Raynaud's does not occur in Pregnant women due to increased blood flow. But, it could form in breastfeeding mothers (nipples would turn white and painful).
If you get the Raynaud's Phenomenon episode:
- warm your affected area
- get indoors to a warmer place
- wiggle the affected area (fingers or toes)
- run warm water over your fingers and toes
- massage the affected region and relax
Types of Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Raynaud's Phenomenon is classified into two types: Primary Raynaud's and Secondary Raynaud's.
This type of Reynaud is also known as idiopathic, as it is spontaneous and is not a result of another disease. In common language, the primary Raynaud’s phenomenon is also called “being allergic to cold”.
Specifically, it usually affects females between the age of 15 to 30, and is hereditary. Further, smoking, caffeine and estrogen boost the intensity and the frequency of Raynaud's episodes.
Medically, the best treatment is to
- avoid the cold (keep warm during cold weather)
- stop using stimulants and nicotine
- exercise regularly and have a healthy diet.
Primary Raynaud's Phenomenon is seen more among people as compared to secondary Raynaud's Phenomenon, but does not need any medical treatments.
Secondary Raynaud's Phenomenon is related to other diseases, such as:
- Connective tissue disorder (lupus, scleroderma)
- Hand injuries
- Elongated (prolonged) vibration
- Eating disorder (anorexia)
- Obstructive disorder
- Few medications (e.g. birth control pills)
Secondary Reynaud’s phenomenon usually affects the elderly.
Sadly, Secondary Reynaud’s phenomenon could lead to other vascular diseases and affect other limbs. This is not seen among many but you need to treat this condition.
Consult a doctor immediately: If your symptoms get worse, you can not do your daily routine, numbness is getting worse and if you are under 12 or over 30 and have symptoms.
Keep in mind that if Reynaud’s is untreated, it could lead to tissue damage and skin ulcers, which would result in amputation.
The medications for Reyaud’s phenomenon vary depending on the symptoms but mainly it's been given to dilate the blood vessels to promote blood circulation.
If the medication does not help, the doctor would advise surgery.
Two kinds of surgery options for Raynaud’s Phenomenon are Nerve surgery, where they’ll remove the affected nerve, and the second is chemical injection, where the chemical would block the affected nerve.
To prevent Raynaud’s Phenomenon, you should take precautions, such as
- Keep yourself warm in cold conditions
- Wear warm clothes
- Wear thick warmer socks and appropriate shoes to keep your feet warm
- Wear gloves and other appropriate outfits such as scarfs and etc.
To learn more, get in touch with us today.
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