Raynauds Disease - Treatments and Therapies

By: Alien

Raynaud's disease and Raynaud's phenomenon are rare disorders that affect blood vessels. These disorders are marked by brief episodes of vasospasm (narrowing of the blood vessels). Raynaud's is a condition in which the blood supply to the extremities,usually the fingers and toes, but sometimes also the ears and nose, is interrupted. This disorder is characterised by episodic attacks, called vasospastic attacks, that cause the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to constrict. Raynaud's syndrome can occur on its own, or it can be secondary to another condition such as scleroderma or lupus. Raynaud's disease occurs more frequently in women than in men. Although it can occur at any age. It is estimated that 4 - 5% of the United States population is affected.

Causes

Doctors don't completely understand the cause of Raynaud's attacks, but blood vessels in the hands and feet appear to overreact to cold temperatures or stress.

When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, your extremities lose heat. Your body slows down blood supply to your fingers and toes to preserve your body's core temperature. Your body specifically reduces blood flow by narrowing the small arteries under the skin of your extremities. In people with Raynaud's, this normal response is exaggerated. Stress causes a similar reaction to cold in the body, and likewise the body's response may be exaggerated.

The symptoms include several cyclic color changes:

1. When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood supply to the fingertips, toes, nose, and earlobes of Raynaud's disease patients is reduced and the skin turns pale or white (called pallor) and becomes cold and numb.
2. When the oxygen supply is depleted, the skin colour turns blue (called cyanosis).

Treatment

There is no known way to prevent the development of Raynaud's disease. Further, there is no known cure for this condition. Therefore, avoidance of the trigger is the best supportive management available. Most cases of primary Raynaud's disease can be controlled with proper medical care and avoidance.

Many people are able to find relief by simply adjusting their lifestyles. Affected individuals need to stay warm, and keep their hands and feet well covered in cold weather. Layered clothing, scarves, heavy coats, heavy socks, and mittens under gloves are suggested because gloves alone allow heat to escape. It is also recommended that patients cover or close the space between their sleeves and mittens. Indoors, they should wear socks and comfortable shoes. Smokers should quit as nicotine will worsen the problem. Avoid the use of vibrating tools as well.

Non-medication treatment:

Biofeedback has been demonstrated to be safe and effective for some individuals. This is a technique designed to help a person gain control over involuntary body functions, such as skin temperature, heart rate, or blood pressure. Biofeedback training is necessary and several methods are available.

Medical Conditions
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Medical Conditions