Raynaud’s is a fairly common disease many people experience, which causes some areas of your body, such as fingers and toes, to feel numb and cold. This is essentially our body’s natural respond to cold temperatures or sometimes stress, although the true cause of this disease occurs when the arteries that work to supply blood to our skin become smaller. This process limits the amount of blood circulation most often to your outer extremities, causing them to turn white!
For most people, Raynaud’s disease is not disabling, but can certainly affect quality of life especially during the wintertime! While the primary form is most frequent and less severe, a more serious secondary form can unfortunately be quite dangerous if not taken care of properly.
Who has Raynaud’s?
People of all ages and backgrounds are susceptible to getting Raynaud’s, although the typical age of onset is between ages 15 to 25. It is a disease that is brought on by cold conditions or emotional stress, however, some who may be more prone to developing Raynaud’s, including:
- Families: Some have gone as far to say that it may be a hereditary issue and can often run in families
- Women: Raynaud’s happens to be more common within women as they tend experience more emotional stress
- Cold Climate: People who live in cold climates are more likely to develop Raynaud’s due to our body’s natural response to cold weather
Is it treatable? How do you treat it?
Treatments for Raynaud’s are aimed to reduce how many attacks you have, make the attacks less severe, and prevent tissue damage. In most cases, primary conditions do not lead to tissue damage, so non-drug treatments are preferred, while using medicine as a form of treatment is more applicable to secondary Raynaud’s. In some cases where tissue damage cannot be repaired, surgery may necessary, however, most often simple measures can be taken to prevent attacks. Try following these steps to improve your condition:
- Keep your hands and feet warm and dry
- Avoid air conditioning
- Wear gloves
- Wear many layers of clothing when it’s cold
- Avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly to help maintain stress levels
- Use chemical warmers such as small heating pouches that can be placed in shoes, pockets etc.
- Take in a warm bath or shower