The following describes the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Raynaud’s disease. For specific information regarding your health and treatment options, please contact your Hurley physician or medical professional.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
Raynaud’s disease is a condition marked by attacks in which the blood vessels narrow temporarily, decreasing blood flow in certain areas of the body, such as the fingers and toes. The decreased blood flow can often cause discoloration of the affected areas. Color typically returns to normal after the attack passes.
What causes Raynaud’s disease?
The exact cause of Raynaud’s disease is not always known. It can be the result of a medical condition that damages the arteries or nerves, complications from certain medications, a hand or foot injury, exposure to particular chemicals, or damage to the arteries or nerves due to repetitive actions. Often times, an attack can be triggered by cold temperatures or stress.
What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?
Common symptoms of Raynaud’s disease include:
- Temporary discoloration in the fingers or toes
- Mild tingling or numbness in the affected area
- Attacks lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours and occurring on a regular basis, such as daily or weekly
- Inflammation and pain when the affected area is warmed
- In severe cases, finger tips can ulcerate and lead to gangrene
How is Raynaud’s disease diagnosed?
Your Hurley physician will conduct a complete physical exam and may order blood tests to help confirm the diagnosis.
How is Raynaud’s disease treated?
There is no cure for Raynaud’s disease. Treatment focuses on decreasing the severity and frequency of attacks. Your Hurley physician’s patient-and family-centered treatment approach may include advice such as quitting smoking, wearing gloves in cold weather, and avoiding situations that upset you or cause you stress. Certain medications may help prevent the blood vessels from constricting, thus decreasing the likelihood of an attack. If an attack is triggered, there are some simple steps you can take to help it pass such as soaking your hands or feet in warm water, moving to a warmer spot, or massaging the affected area. In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat Raynaud’s disease. Your physician can make a treatment recommendation based on your particular case.