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Raynaud's Syndrome

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, the information on these pages is gathered from my own experience, books, websites, and other people's experience. I will not be held responsible for any injury resulting from this information. If you have a medical condition, you should seek qualified medical advice and supervision at all times.

What is Raynaud's? | Resources


What is Raynaud's Syndrome?

Raynaud's Syndrome affects the extremities, causing blood vessels to spasm which stops the blood flow to the area. The triggers are exposure to cold or less commonly, distress. Raynaud's normally affects fingers, hands, toes, feet, as well as ears and and sometimes the nose of patients. The extremities turn white or blue (or both) almost immediately when the blood vessels spasm, sometimes becoming numb or tingly. When the blood returns, it is often painful and the extremities turn red. A normal reaction to cold would be a combination of white/blue/red - blotchiness. There is a marked difference in how a Raynaud's sufferer reacts to cold.

There are two types of Raynaud's. Primary Raynaud's is the most common type, not linked to an underlying medical condition. This type is not usually disabling and usually can be treated with lifestyle changes. Secondary Raynaud's is caused by an underlying medical condition (often rheumatic), and is very difficult to treat. Some patients end up with more serious problems, caused by their secondary Raynaud's, such as ulcers or gangrene.

Raynaud's affects up to 10% of people, with most just passing it off as "poor circulation". 90% of Raynaud's sufferers have primary Raynaud's, with the remaining dealing with the more complex, and usually more painful secondary Raynaud's.

There is no current known cure for Raynaud's. Some researchers have linked Raynaud's and migraines because both are vascular problems. There also seems to be a link to rheumatic conditions such as lupus and fibromyalgia, although these have yet to be explored thoroughly by medical researchers.