Raynaud’s is a rare disorder which causes some areas of the body — like the toes, fingers, nose, or ears — to feel cold and numb in response to stress or cold temperatures. This disorder occurs when the blood vessels constrict.
1 out of 3 people who have lupus develops Raynaud’s as well as 9 out of 10 people who have scleroderma, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Females are more likely than males to develop Raynaud’s, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Furthermore, 4 to 15% of the people in the US have Raynaud’s, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
There are 2 main types of the condition:
Primary Raynaud’s, also known as Raynaud’s disease, is the most frequent form of Raynaud’s. It can be so mild that many sufferers with the disease don’t seek medical treatment. Also, it can resolve on its own. It usually starts between the ages of 15 and 25.
Secondary Raynaud’s, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, is caused by an underlying health problem. It usually starts between the ages of 35 and 40. The majority of cases are associated with autoimmune conditions, that cause the immune system to attack its own cells. Autoimmune conditions that are known to be associated with secondary Raynaud’s are:
- lupus – it causes joint pain, tiredness, and skin rashes;
- Sjogren’s syndrome – it is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the body’s tear and sweat glands;
- rheumatoid arthritis – it causes joint swelling and pain;
- scleroderma – it is a condition which causes thickening and hardening of the skin.
Note – in both types of Raynaud’s, even brief or mild changes in temperature can cause Raynaud’s attacks. During an attack, no or little blood flows to affected body parts.
Common symptoms include:
- gangrene (a condition which occurs when body tissue dies) in the fingers which needs amputation or causes infection (rare);
- sores on the finger pads develop (severe cases);
- hands which may become painful and swollen when warmed;
- fingers which turn white or pale then blue during emotional upset or stress, or when exposed to cold, then red when the hands are warmed.
When to Call the Doctor
You should contact your doctor when:
- your child is under 12 and has signs and symptoms of Raynaud’s;
- your symptoms are getting worse or very bad;
- you are over 30 and get signs and symptoms of Raynaud’s for the 1st time;
- you also have skin rashes, joint pain, or muscle weakness;
- you only have numbness on one side of the body;
- Raynaud’s is affecting your day-to-day life.
Complications may include:
- impaired healing of abrasions and cuts;
- tissue loss;
- increased susceptibility to infection.
Primary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s disease) is referred to as “idiopathic” since there is no clear underlying cause.
Secondary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s phenomenon) is so called as it occurs secondary to another factor or condition, like:
- injury to the feet and hands, including repetitive trauma (especially in people who work with vibrating tools) or frostbite (occurs when there is an exposure to low temperatures);
- hormone imbalances, such as hypothyroidism (where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones);
- medications like over-the-counter decongestants, medications used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (such as Ritalin), drugs containing caffeine (like Excedrin), medications with estrogen (the primary female sex hormone), migraine prescriptions with ergotamine (an ergot alkaloid with analgesic and vasoconstrictor property), chemotherapy drugs, or beta-blockers (medications which are used to treat high blood pressure);
- diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) can damage the blood vessels;
- vasculitis – inflammation of the blood vessels;
- mixed connective tissue disease – it has features of scleroderma (a group of diseases which involve the tightening and hardening of the connective tissues and skin), polymyositis (an uncommon inflammatory disease which causes muscle weakness affecting both sides of the body), lupus, and occasionally rheumatoid arthritis;
- systemic lupus erythematosus – it can cause damage and inflammation in numerous parts of the body, particularly the lungs, heart, brain, and kidneys;
Risk factors for Raynaud’s disease are:
- living in a cold climate;
- family history;
- age – being younger than 30;
- being a woman.
Risk factors for Raynaud’s phenomenon are:
- living in a cold climate;
- being older than 30;
- smoking cigarettes and second-hand smoking;
- using certain medicines, like – cancer, migraine, blood pressure, or cold/allergy medicine;
- repetitive actions with the hands, like – using vibrating tools or typing;
- exposure to certain workplace chemicals, like – vinyl chloride;
- injuries to the feet or hands;
- certain conditions and diseases. For instance, diseases which damage the nerves which control the arteries in the feet and hands.
Your healthcare professional may use a range of tests to decide which type of Raynaud’s an individual has, including:
- a cold stimulation test for secondary Raynaud’s;
- examining fingernail tissue with a microscope;
- blood tests;
- a physical examination;
- a complete medical history.
There is no cure for Raynaud’s, however, there are several treatments to manage the symptoms, such as:
- avoid using tools like power tools or electric hand mixers;
- avoid smoking tobacco or being in places where other people are smoking;
- avoid as much as possible decongestant medications;
- practice good stress management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or yoga;
- use hand protection when taking anything out of a freezer;
- soak your feet or hands in warm water at the first sign of a Raynaud’s attack;
- avoid abrupt changes in temperature, particularly going from warm air into air conditioning;
- wear a coat and hat in addition to warm mittens and socks, if you know you are going to be in a cold area.
Here Is A List Of 5 Essential Oils For Raynaud’s (Primary & Secondary):
It can help to flush out toxins from the human body. This improves blood flow as well as it can promote better overall health.
By reducing platelet aggregation in the bloodstream, wintergreen essential oil may promote blood circulation.
Ginger essential oil provides the body with additional warmth in cold conditions.
It works to promote better circulation by relaxing the blood vessels. This improves the blood flow and reduces the risk of Raynaud’s attacks.
It acts to reduce the fat in the plasma of the blood, a main contributor to poor circulation.
It helps to increase circulation in the fingertips. The usual recommended dose is 120 to 240 milligrams a day.
Controlling your body temperature might help decrease the frequency and severity of Raynaud’s attacks.
To help dilate blood vessels, take 100 mg of vitamin B3 two times per day or consume regularly vitamin B3 rich foods (like peanuts, peas, or mushrooms).