Raynaud’s phenomenon

raynaud'sHave you ever gotten so cold that your fingers turn white or even blue? Imagine if your fingers and toes did that every time you got the slightest bit cold and stayed that way for extended periods. That is what those with Raynaud’s experience.

There are two types of Raynaud’s: primary and secondary. Primary starts before the age of 25, is the lesser severe of the two and is not as serious. Secondary starts after age 40, is more severe and more concerning because there are usually underlying issues causing it such as blood clots, high blood pressure or other diseases.

A normal response to cold redirects the blood from the extremities to the core of the body to keep it warm. During a Raynaud’s response the body overreacts to the cold (or sometimes emotional upset) and severely constricts the blood vessels of the hands and feet. The reason why is still unclear to doctors.

Symptoms

Skin turning white, then blue
Numbness, coldness
Skin turning red
Throbbing, tingling, burning
Severe pain in the hands or feet

Treatment Options

Maintain a temperature of 68 or higher
Perform self massage
Use hand warmers
Exercise regularly
Reduce anxiety
Stop Smoking
Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Take gingko biloba. It has been shown to reduce the number of attacks and severity of Raynaud’s symptoms.

Massage will help with Raynaud’s because it increases circulation and provides a parasympathetic response. Ideally someone with Raynaud’s would receive massage once every other week and minimally once a month.

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