Reynaud’s disease is a blood circulation disorder that affects fingers on the hands, and occasionally on the feet. Small arteries in fingers become particularly sensitive to low temperature and suddenly shrink, reducing the blood flow to the affected area. In the beginning, this shrinking is only temporary spasm, which is relieved by heat, but it can eventually become lasting. Due to the lack of oxygenated blood, the affected area is swelled and often bluish. When the spasm goes away, fresh blood is returned and the bluish color disappear.
Raynaud’s disease can also occur as a secondary consequence of some conditions, not just the cold. In workers working with rake pulleys, pneumatic hammer, etc., it is a professional illness. Sometimes it is caused by connective tissue disorders, e.g. scleroderma, then pulmonary hypertension, Buerger’s disease, excitement or nervous disorder. It can be caused by sensitivity to the beta-blockers.
In all cases where this disorder is a side effect of other diseases, it is Reynaud’s phenomenon, not Reynaud’s disease.
The main symptom is the change in the color of fingertips (or other affected areas). Pain generally does not exist, but there is a numbness in the affected area.
Raynaud’s disease exacerbates very slowly, while Raynaud’s phenomenon may deteriorate rapidly. In the late stages of this disorder, the diseased meat can be tightened, and wounds can be caused because the tissues are not supplied with sufficient amount of blood.
The disease is very common, especially among women.
It almost always occurs for the first time in younger adults. In severe cases, the long stenosis of the arteries can end with dry gangrene, but this is rarely the case. What usually happens is that the reduced blood circulation weakens the fingers and, sometimes, reduces the sense of touch.
Self-help: let your hands and feet be warm and dry. Wear wide gloves and socks and comfortable, wide footwear. Stop smoking; cigarettes are hurting the circulation even more. Try to stay home when it is very cold outside.
Professional help: doctor will have to spread small arteries. Even with permanent damage of arterial wall vasodilators will improve the circulation. Alcohol is a vasodilator, so your doctor may suggest that you take small amounts of alcohol with meals because moderate amounts of alcohol seem to relieve the symptoms of Ravnaud’s disease.
In some cases of Raynaud’s disease surgery is performed, at which nerves that are controling the artery contractions are cut. However, although the post-operative condition often improves remarkably, the nerves tend to grow again. If the disease has become permanent, there may be no temporary improvement. For unknown reasons, this surgery is more successful on the toes than on the fingertips. If it is a Raynaud phenomenon, the treatment depends on the underlying disease.