Raynaud’s - who has it and what is it?
Posted on 22nd November 2017 at 13:14
I wrote about chilblains last week and the natural progression from this is to write about Raynaud’s disease.
People are becoming increasingly familiar with the name ‘Raynaud’s’ but like many conditions (‘erm OCD) people chuck it around without really knowing what it is.
Raynaud’s can be simply Raynaud’s Disease or Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Phenomenon makes it sound like some kind of crazy one-off incident but in medical terms this means that the condition (Raynaud’s) is part of a bigger illness or syndrome, such as Scleroderma which is an autoimmune condition. So, for today let’s take Raynaud’s in isolation.
Although Raynaud’s is a spasm of the blood vessels in the extremities associated with cold temperatures it can also be triggered by anxiety or stress. The flow of blood becomes blocked to the toes (I am a podiatrist) and also fingers, noses, ears and nipples.
These areas change colour to white and become painful and then as the blood flow returns the pain sensation develops into pins and needles and the digits go through the colour spectrums blue and then red.
Raynaud’s must be diagnosed by a blood test, there is no cure, but it can be treated and managed. It sound’s obvious but not allowing yourself to get cold is important. This may mean wearing thermoregulating socks (and gloves) even in milder weather. (See silver socks and bamboo socks). Stopping smoking (DO IT) and avoiding stress (difficult) are also methods of managing the condition. Medication, acupuncture and dietary changes can help to relieve symptoms so build up a rapport with your GP who knows what pathway of treatment you are on.
Gentle and low impact exercises especially walking is highly recommended to improve circulation and in the colder weather, yoga and Pilates (under instruction).
Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK and NHS.uk are great sources of information on symptoms, management & support.
Tagged as: Raynaud's
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