Raynaud’s disease is a disorder that affects the hands and feet. It is caused by contraction of the smooth muscles controlling the small arteries that supply circulation into the hands and feet. This contraction, called a vasospasm, makes the arteries so small that they restrict blood flow. Exposure to cold temperature or stress can often bring on a vasospasm.
Causes and Symptoms
Raynaud’s disease has no known cause and is most common in young women. The hyperactivation of the sympathetic nervous system is what causes the extreme narrowing of the blood vessels. This is common in people who live in colder climates. Stress is also shown to be a cause of blood vessel narrowing.
The symptoms of Raynaud’s disease include:
- Cold fingers or toes
- Change in color of skin when cold or stressed
- Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain during warming or stress relief
- Swelling or throbbing when circulation improves
There are two types of Raynaud’s disease — Primary Raynaud’s and Secondary Raynaud’s disease. Primary Raynaud’s disease is the most common, and occurs in people who do not have any other medical issues. Secondary Raynaud’s disease is caused by another underlying medical issue. Secondary Raynaud’s disease tends to be more serious but less common.
Staying warm and exercising regularly to maintain healthy blood circulation throughout the body can help offset the disease. If you have Raynauds, there are many things you can do to avoid triggers, including:
- Keeping your home warm
- Avoiding emotional stress
- Avoiding medicines that trigger symptoms
- Limiting consumption of caffeine and alcohol
- Exercising to reduce stress and promote healthy blood circulation
- Not smoking
Other treatments include nerve surgery, chemical injections, or medications. While there is no cure, there are many ways to manage symptoms. The treatment option that is best for you depends on the severity of your condition.
If you want to learn more about Raynaud’s disease or any other foot condition, be sure to contact Dr. Nathan Lucas at Renuva Xtremity. Schedule an appointment here!