The Mayo Clinic and Raynaud's Disease

The Mayo Clinic and Raynaud's Disease thumbnail
Raynaud's affects hands and feet.

Raynaud's disease causes extremities such as nose, ears, fingers and toes to become numb and cold in response to stress or low temperatures due to narrowing arteries. The Mayo Clinic says signs and symptoms "depend on the frequency, duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder."

  1. Symptoms

    • During attack, your skin usually will turn first white, then blue. As your circulation improves, your hands and feet may turn quite red and tingle.

    Causes

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, while the exact causes are not known, it is likely that your blood vessels are over-reacting to cold temperatures, causing them to narrow to protect your body's core temperature.

    Primary vs Secondary

    • In primary Raynaud's, the cause is not known. Secondary Raynaud's can be caused by medications, rheumatoid arthritis, smoking and exposure to toxic chemicals.

    Testing

    • If your doctor cannot determine Raynaud's during an office visit, he will order tests for you like a cold-simulation test to try to force your Raynaud's to occur. He may also order autoimmune tests if he suspects that Raynaud's is due to an underlying condition.

    Treatments

    • The more severe form of this disease can be disabling. Treatment can include calcium channel blockers, which will help dilate the blood vessels in your hands and feet and other affected areas. In the most severe cases, nerve surgery is often employed.

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References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt

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