Raynaud’s disease is a condition that affects the blood supply to the fingers, toes and occasionally the ears and nose. Raynaud’s disease can be classified as one of two types: primary (or idiopathic) and secondary (also called Raynaud’s phenomenon). Primary Raynaud’s disease has no predisposing factor, is more mild, and causes fewer complications. About half of all cases of Raynaud’s disease are of this type. It can occur without any other associated symptoms or disease. The fingers are the most commonly affected area, but the toes also are affected in 40 percent of people with Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s phenomenon most frequently affects women, especially in the second, third, or fourth decades of life. People can have Raynaud’s phenomenon alone or as a part of other rheumatic diseases. When it occurs alone, it is referred to as “Raynaud’s disease” or primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. When it accompanies other diseases, it is called secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. This disorder is characterized by episodic attacks, called vasospastic attacks, that cause the blood vessels in the digits (fingers and toes) to constrict (narrow). Raynaud’s phenomenon can occur on its own, or it can be secondary to another condition such as scleroderma or lupus.
Symptoms and Signs
Sensations of coldness, burning pain, paresthesias, or intermittent color changes of one or more digits are precipitated by exposure to cold, emotional stress, or vibration. All can be reversed by removing the stimulus. Rewarming the hands accelerates restoration of normal color and sensation.
When this disorder occurs without any known cause, it is called Raynaud’s disease, or primary Raynaud’s. When the condition occurs along with a likely cause, it is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, or secondary Raynaud’s. Primary Raynaud’s is more common and tends to be less severe than secondary Raynaud’s.
Causes of Raynaud’s Disease
Raynaud’s episodes can be triggered by cold, either by touching cold objects or by being in a cold environment, body specifically reduces blood flow by narrowing the small arteries under the skin of your extremities.
Diagnosis is made and primary and secondary forms are distinguished clinically, supported by nail fold capillaroscopy and blood testing. For nail fold capillaroscopy, a drop of immersion oil is placed at the fingernail base; nail fold capillaries are magnified and examined using an ophthalmoscope set at 10 to 40 diopters. Distorted or dilated capillary loops suggest a connective tissue disorder as the cause. Blood tests (eg, measurement of ESR, antinuclear antibodies, rheumatoid factor, anticentromere antibody, anti-SCL-70 antibody) are done to detect accompanying disorders.
The severity of the disease runs from mild to severe. In people with mild cases, this may be simply an annoyance. Heatbands and hand warmers may be used on the wrists to warm the blood flowing to the hands. More serious cases require medical intervention due to the risks of gangrene and possible digital amputation. Microvascular surgery of the affected areas is a possible therapy.
· Clothing – wearing of thermal fabrics
· The use of hand warmers or electric gloves
· Stop smoking
· Change job if vibration induces
· Avoid sympathetic stimulants