If you ever experience unusual bouts of coldness, it is possible that you have a condition known as Raynaud’s disease. This is not necessarily a disabling issue, but it can have an adverse effect on the quality of your life. Being able to recognize the symptoms will help you understand when it is time to seek treatment, and what that will even constitute.
This condition develops when small arteries tasked with supplying blood to your skin become narrow and limit the circulation of blood to affected areas. This is referred to as a vasospasm. Raynaud’s is more likely to affect women than men and does tend to be more frequently observed in people living in colder climates. That said, it can certainly affect men living in warm environments as well.
The underlying cause of this disease is not known at this time, but experts have identified two main forms of the condition:
- Primary Raynaud’s. In this form, there is no associated medical issue and the disease exists on its own. Between the two, this is the more common situation.
- Secondary Raynaud’s. This form of the disease does stem from another medical condition or source. Connective tissue diseases, carpal tunnel syndrome, injuries, artery disease, certain medications, repetitive vibration or action, and smoking can all cause secondary Raynaud’s.
Both the primary and secondary types share the same symptoms, which include cold toes or fingers, cold sensations that develop in response to stress, and a prickly, numb feeling or stinging pain upon stress relief or warming. Symptoms may onset as an attack that causes affected areas to turn white and then blue. Upon warming, the skin may become red, but not everyone experiences the same order or even all three colors.
As previously mentioned, women and cold climate residents are more likely to experience this condition than men or those who live in warmer environments. Other risk factors are age—Raynaud’s typically develops initially between the ages of 15 and 30—and family history.
Home Remedies for Raynaud’s
You can help reduce the odds of incurring a Raynaud’s attack with the following tips:
- Don’t smoke. We understand that quitting isn’t easy, but smoking constricts your blood vessels and causes skin temperature to drop. Also, being around secondhand smoke increase your risk of aggravating the condition.
- Control stress. Being able to recognize and decrease the amount of stressful situations you face will help you manage the disease and avoid outbreaks.
- Exercise. This is actually a great way to help with the previous tip. In addition to helping lower stress levels, exercise also improves circulation.
- Avoid rapid temperature changes. This can be a bit tricky in Austin, TX, but going from a hot environment to a cold, air-conditioned room can trigger an attack.
Professional Treatment for Raynaud’s Disease
Home care can provide some benefit, but you will likely also need our help too. We may prescribe medication that attempts to manage the situation by preventing tissue damage, reducing the severity and number of attacks, and treating any underlying disease that might be causing it. Treatment will depend on your specific situation but may include medications that either open and relax small blood vessels—like vasodilators or calcium channel blockers—or counteract hormones that constrict the vessels.
In some cases, the best course of treatment is either nerve surgery or chemical injection. If we can address the issue with medication, that is generally the preferred method. Should surgery be necessary, you can take comfort in the fact that our practice has the skilled experts you want performing the procedure. Of course, we will discuss the entire process beforehand so you can know what to expect.
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