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What are the effects of Raynaud's disease?
27 Jan' 21

What are the effects of Raynaud's disease?

 

Raynaud's illness (ray-NOSE) causes numbness and coldness in some parts of your body, such as your fingers and toes, in response to cold temperatures or stress. The tiny arteries that carry blood to your skin narrow in Raynaud's disease, reducing blood flow to the affected areas (vasospasm). Raynaud's illness, commonly known as Raynaud's or Raynaud's phenomenon or syndrome, affects more women than males. People who reside in colder climates appear to be more susceptible. Raynaud's disease is treated differently depending on its severity and whether you have any other health issues. Raynaud's illness isn't usually disabling, but it might have an impact on your quality of life.

Raynaud's illness has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Your skin's color changes in response to cold or stress.
  • Warmth or stress alleviation causes a numb, prickly sensation or stinging pain.
  • During a Raynaud's attack, the affected parts of your skin normally turn white initially. They often turn blue and become chilly and numb as a result. The affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell as you warm up and your circulation improves.
  • Although Raynaud's disease most typically affects your fingers and toes, it can also affect your nose, lips, ears and even your nipples. It can take up to 15 minutes for normal blood flow to restore to the area after you've warmed up.

Causes:

The source of Raynaud's attacks is unknown, although blood vessels in the hands and feet appear to respond to cold temperatures or stress, according to doctors.

 

Spasming blood vessels:

When you have Raynaud's, the arteries in your fingers and toes narrow and temporarily cut off blood flow when you are exposed to cold or stress. These small arteries might harden gradually over time, restricting blood flow even further.

An attack is most likely to be triggered by cold temperatures. The most common cause is exposure to cold, such as putting your hands in cold water, pulling something from the freezer, or being in cold air. Emotional tension can set off an episode in certain people.

 

Diseases of the connective tissue: 

Raynaud's disease affects the majority of persons who have scleroderma, an uncommon condition that causes skin hardening and scarring. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome are among conditions that raise the incidence of Raynaud's.

 

Atherosclerosis:

Atherosclerosis is a group of diseases that affect the arteries. An accumulation of plaques in the heart's blood vessels, a disorder in which the blood vessels of the hands and feet become inflamed, and a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs' arteries are among them.

The ailment carpal tunnel syndrome affects the hands and wrists. This problem occurs when the main nerve in your hand is compressed, causing numbness and pain in the hand as well as making it more susceptible to cold temperatures.

 

Vibration or repetitive activity:

Long durations of typing, playing the piano or executing comparable movements as well as operating vibrating machines like jackhammers can result in overuse injuries.

 

Smoking: Smoking causes blood arteries to narrow.

 

Hand and foot injuries are common: A wrist fracture, surgery, or frostbite are all examples.

 

Medications in particular: Beta-blockers for high blood pressure, migraine medications containing ergotamine and sumatriptan, pharmaceuticals for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, certain chemotherapeutic agents and drugs that induce blood vessels to shrink such as some over-the-counter cold medications, are all examples.

 

Read more Scurvy explained

 

Factors that are at risk

The following are risk factors for primary Raynaud's:

  • Sex: Women are more affected than men.
  • Age: Primary Raynaud's disease can affect anyone, however, it most commonly affects people between the ages of 15 and 30. 
  • Climate: People who reside in colder climates are also more likely to have the disease.
  • History of the family: A first-degree family with the condition a parent, sibling, or kid appears to raise your risk of developing primary Raynaud's.

The following are risk factors for secondary Raynaud's:

  • Diseases that are linked: Scleroderma and lupus are examples of these diseases.
  • Certain professions: Jobs that produce repetitive trauma, such as using vibrating instruments, fall under this category.
  • Amount of time spent in contact with particular substances.
  • To keep cold air from reaching your hands, wear a coat with snug cuffs that go around your mittens or gloves.
  • Use chemical hand warmers as well. If the tip of your nose and earlobes are sensitive to cold, wear earmuffs and a face mask. 
  • Warm-up your vehicle. Before driving in cold weather, turn on your car heater for a few minutes.
  • Indoors, take measures. Socks should be worn. Wear gloves, mittens, or oven mitts while removing food from the refrigerator or freezer. During the winter, some people find it beneficial to wear mittens and socks to bed.
  • Set your air conditioner to a warmer temperature because air cooling can provoke attacks. Drink from insulated glasses.

Diagnosis:

Your doctor will conduct a physical examination and ask about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may also request tests to rule out other medical issues that could be causing the same signs and symptoms.

  

Raynaud's disease: primary vs. secondary:

  • A test called nail fold capillaroscopy may be used by your doctor to distinguish between primary and secondary Raynaud's. The doctor uses a microscope or magnifier to examine the skin near the base of your fingernail for abnormalities or enlargement of the tiny blood vessels.
  • If your doctor suspects that Raynaud's is caused by another ailment, such as an autoimmune disorder or a connective tissue disease, he or she may likely order blood tests such as
  • Test for antinuclear antibodies. Antibodies to these proteins may indicate an activated immune system, which is frequent in persons with connective tissue illnesses or other autoimmune conditions.
  • The rate of sedimentation of erythrocytes. The pace at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a tube is measured in this test. A higher-than-normal rate could indicate the presence of underlying inflammatory or autoimmune condition.
  • Raynaud's disease cannot be diagnosed with a single blood test. Other tests, such as those that rule out artery disorders, may be ordered by your doctor to help pinpoint a condition that is linked to Raynaud's.

Read more How rickets affect your life?

Treatment

Raynaud's symptoms can usually be controlled by dressing in layers for the cold and wearing gloves or heavy socks. More severe versions of the illness can be treated with medications. The treatment's objectives are to:

Reduce the number of assaults and their severity

Avoid tissue injury

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