The exact cause and mechanism of Raynaud’s isn’t understood, but blood vessels in the hands and feet overreact to stress and cold temperatures. Statistics say that women are more prone to the condition than men. Also, it is commoner in people who live in cold climates.
In Raynaud’s syndrome, the arteries to the toes and fingers go into vaso-spasm, meaning these arteries become narrow and limit blood supply for the time being.
Causes And Symptoms Of Raynaud’s Syndrome
Raynaud’s Syndrome Causes
- Cold temperature: makes the extremities lose heat. The blood supply to your fingers and toes slows down in order to conserve the body’s core temperature. In people having Raynaud’s, this normal response gets exaggerated.
- Stress: also tends to reduce blood supply to the extremities, and likewise, in those who have Raynaud’s the response gets exaggerated.
- Genetic predisposition: is a determining factor.
- Diseases of the arteries: Raynaud’s phenomenon is linked to atherosclerosis, Buerger’s disease, etc.
- Lupus: Raynaud’s is commonly seen in those who have lupus erythematosus
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Raynaud’s disease could be an early indication of rheumatoid arthritis
- Injuries: injuries to the hands or feet, like, wrist fracture, frostbite or surgery, may lead to Raynaud’s disease.
- Injury due to overuse: recurring injuries tend to damage nerves serving the blood vessels in the hands and feet. E.g., people who play the piano or type forcefully are vulnerable to Raynaud’s.
- Smoking: constricts the blood vessels and is a probable cause of Raynaud’s.
- Certain medicines: beta blockers, migraine drugs containing ergotamine; estrogen medications; etc. cause the blood vessels to narrow, and have been linked to Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s Disease Symptoms
- Cold fingers and toes.
- Color changes in response to stress or cold: first the skin turns white; then it turns blue and cold and numb; as blood returns to these parts, the skin turns red.
- Numbness or stinging pain on becoming warm or when there is relief from the stress.
- Other parts may get affected, such as, ears, nose, lips, or nipples.
- The episode may last from 1 minute to several hours.
Treatment For Raynaud’S Syndrome
- Calcium channel blockers: open up small blood vessels in the hands and feet and reduce severity and intensity of attacks. Calcium channel blockers help heal skin ulcers on fingers or toes.
- Vasodilators: relaxes blood vessels and relieves symptoms of Raynaud’s.
- Alpha blockers: neutralize the action of norepinephrine, a hormone that narrows blood vessels.
- Avoid caffeine: it constricts the blood vessels.
- Do not smoke: smoking constricts the blood vessels, and triggers an attack.
- Stress management is very essential: learn to identify and steer clear of stressful situations.
- Exercise regularly: it augments blood circulation.
- Take care of your hands and feet: protect your hands and feet from injury. Do not walk bare feet and wear socks and gloves when in cold temperatures. Avoid wearing anything that constricts the blood vessels in the hands or feet, such as tight rings, wristbands, or footwear.