In the fall season, many of us will experience cold fingers and toes due to dropping temperature changes that your body isn’t used to. However, there is a condition known as Raynaud’s disease that is a blood vessel disorder that takes this sensation to a whole other level.
Here is some information about Raynaud Syndrome and when to be concerned about blood flow issues in the body.
Symptoms of Raynaud Syndrome
People with Raynaud syndrome commonly feel numbness and coldness in the fingers and toes and also notice their skin’s color changing when the numbness starts. The skin often turns white first and then bluer as the coldness and numbness sets in. After using warming techniques, the skin begins to turn red.
It is also common to feel a stinging or prickly sensation with this disorder. In addition to the fingers and toes, this sensation may affect other extremities of the body, such as the ears and nose.
Prevalence of Raynaud Syndrome
This syndrome is named after Maurice Raynaud, who first identified the disorder in 1862. Researchers have estimated that it affects five to 10 percent of the American population; however, only about one in five people seek treatment for it. It is more common for women than men to have Raynaud syndrome and also for people living in colder climates to have it.
Causes of Raynaud Syndrome
Raynaud syndrome can be the result of blood vessels that overreact and spasm due to either cold weather or stress. When this happens, the blood vessels narrow and blood supply becomes more limited.
Cold temperatures are common triggers for Raynaud syndrome, which is why people often begin to notice the symptoms in the fall season. Brief exposures to cold, such as picking up a glass of ice water, can trigger the sensation too.
Primary Raynaud’s is not caused by any other medical condition and often is mild enough to not require treatment. However, secondary Raynaud’s is more serious and can be caused by an underlying issue, such as an artery disease, connective tissue disease, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Diagnosing Raynaud Syndrome
If a person is unaware that he or she has Raynaud syndrome and the disorder is left unaddressed, long-term blood vessel damage can result. Unfortunately, there is no unique test to diagnose Raynaud’s syndrome or any specific cure for it yet. A physician may run tests to determine whether Raynaud’s exists in a primary or secondary form in order to rule out the possibility of an arterial disease, for example.
Natural Remedies for Raynaud Syndrome
Medications, such as vasodilators and calcium channel blockers, as well as surgeries, have been used to treat serious cases of Raynaud’s syndrome. But in most instances, natural treatments are safest and most effective. Prevention techniques include exercising daily to boost bodily circulation, avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke, and controlling stress.
Wear gloves and socks to keep extremities warm and keep packages of hand-warmers around for when an attack happens. It also helps to wiggle the fingers and toes regularly to keep blood moving through them, avoid cold temperatures as much as possible, and soak hands in warm water at the first symptoms. Meanwhile, natural health practitioners recommend taking fish oil pills to improve overall circulation and trying acupuncture to increase blood flow to troublesome areas of the body.