Shaking the Cold Hand of Raynaud’s Syndrome

2009-12-24 | |
Last updated: 2009-12-24

For all of us except those who have lived all their lives in tropical climates, the sensation of cold hands and feet is a known mildly unpleasant feeling that comes with cooler temperatures. Usually, wearing better insulation or rubbing the hands together and thus increasing blood flow eliminates the problem. However, for people who suffer from the condition called Raynaud’s Syndrome, the cold feeling is much harder to shake and can be far more serious.

Raynaud’s Syndrome is a relatively common disorder of the blood vessels that causes the vessels to narrow considerably when a person is emotionally stressed, exposed to cold or experiences long-term exposure to vibration. The result of the narrowed vessels is lack of blood flow to the extremities like the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks and ears. This causes these extremities to first go white from the lack of blood, then blue from lack of oxygen and finally turn red and swell when the blood flow returns. The return of the blood leads to that more uncomfortable feeling of “pins and needles” that we have all experienced.

Who Is Affected By Raynaud’s Syndrome

Depending on sources, it is estimated that between 3-5% of the population is affected by the condition and that 80% of those with the condition are women, making them significantly more affected than men. The condition can occur on its own as a disease or as a side effect of another condition. People with autoimmune diseases such as Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis will frequently suffer from the condition and it is seen in 70% of those with the skin and joint disease Scleroderma.

What Are The Symptoms of Raynaud’s Syndrome

For most people who have Raynaud’s Syndrome, the symptoms are mild and mostly a nuisance, but in the more rare cases, prolonged oxygen starvation of the extremities is quite serious and can lead to damage and death of the tissues. For this reason, those with the symptoms should visit their doctor to be diagnosed.

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Category: General Health, Medical Research, Symptom Information

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