What is Raynaud’s?
In people with Raynaud’s, the small blood vessel in the extremities such as hands, fingers, feet and toes are over sensitive to even slight changes in temperature, the cold and sometimes stress. This causes a Raynaud’s attack where the fingers can change colour from white to blue to red.
· A colour change in the extremities such as hands or feet
· Cold extremities and numbness
· Tingling or pain
Causes of Raynaud’s
Primary Raynaud’s– this is the most common type and means that the condition occurs by itself, without association with any other health condition. Primary Raynaud’s is caused by disruptions in how the nervous system controls blood vessels.
Secondary Raynaud’s– an underlying health condition could be causing the blood vessels to over react. The majority of cases are associated with autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and lupus. Other causes include diseases affecting the arteries such as atherosclerosis and primary pulmonary hypertension.
Who is likely to get Raynaud’s?
Primary Raynaud’s is most common in young women and girls, but both forms of the condition can affect all ages and both genders.
Diagnosis can often be made by a GP following discussion around the symptoms and physical examination which may include the following.
· Water test– looking at the reaction of the extremities to cold water
· Blood tests– looking at full blood count, antinuclear antibodies or erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Although there is no cure for Raynaud’s the symptoms can be managed.
· Keep warm
· Relax and pace yourself
· Complimentary therapies
· Quit smoking
· Take exercise
· Medications in some cases
For more information go to Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK.