What is Raynaud’s?
Raynaud’s phenomenon is the short term constriction of the blood vessels to the extremities i.e. fingers and toes. The ears, nose and tongue can also be affected to a lesser extent.
How do I know if I have Raynaud’s?
Most patients with mild disease only notice skin discoloration upon cold exposure. The colour generally changes from normal skin tone to white then blue and finally red. Some will experience painful, pale cold extremities that can last minutes to hours. They may also experience mild tingling and numbness of the involved digit(s) that will disappear once the colour returns to normal.
Risk Factors/Predisposing factors
- More common in women, especially in the second, third or fourth decade.
- In pregnancy, this sign normally disappears due to increased surface blood flow.
- Trauma from frostbite
- Most commonly triggered by emotional stress and cold.
- Side effects of drugs
- Underlying autoimmune disorder (ie lupus, scleroderma), hormone imbalance or even some cancers are all causes
How is Raynaud’s Treated?
- Guard hands and feet from cold, direct trauma and wounds.
- Careful nail care
- Cotton gloves can be helpful while searching the freezer.
- Rubber gloves washing dishes.
- Barefoot walking should be minimized.
- Avoid tight-fitting wrist bands, rings, or footwear.
- Treat any wounds early to prevent more serious infections.
- Room temperatures should not be too cool.
- Avoiding emotional stresses and tools that vibrate the hand may reduce the frequency of attacks.
- Cease smoking as it increases the frequency and intensity of attacks
- Headwear can help the body retain heat by minimizing heat dissipation.