The main symptom of Raynaud’s disease is that some part of your body – it is usually hands or feet – feel numb and cold as a result of cold temperatures or stress. This is because the smaller arteries that supply blood to our skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas.
Interestingly women are more prone to suffer from Raynauds disease or syndrome. Unsurprisingly it is also more common in colder climates.
Raynaud’s is not usually life threatening but it can have a big impact on your quality of life
During an attack affected areas usually first turn white. Then they often turn blue and feel cold and numb As you warm up and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. Anything that helps to improve circulation can be beneficial. Acupuncture can help with improving blood flow.
Signs and Symptoms
- Cold fingers or toes
- Colour changes in your skin in response to cold or stress – usually white/blue
- Numbness, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or stress relief
There are two main types of the condition – Primary and Secondary Raynauds. The exact cause of Primary Raynauds’s is unknown, although there is often a hereditary element to the condition. Sometimes Raynaud’s develops as a result of other medical conditions when it is regarded as Secondary Raynauds. These include:
- Connective tissue diseases
- Diseases of the arteries
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Injuries to hands and feet
- Family history
- Certain occupations – these include jobs that cause repetitive trauma, such as operating tools that vibrate
- Exposure to certain substances – smoking, taking medications that affect the blood vessels, being exposed to certain chemicals, such as vinyl chlorides
- Wrap up warm when you go out
- Warm your car
- When taking food out of the fridge or freezer wear gloves
- keep warm – layers are good
- Use hand warmers, gloves and thick socks, thermal shoe insoles when out and about
- Acupuncture – can help to improve blood flow
- Avoid smoke
- Exercise -helps to improve circulation
- Seek to control stress
- Avoid rapidly changing temperatures
- Massage for the hands and feet can be helpful
- Try to steer clear of stressful situationsL
- Learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing -breath in allowing the tummy to swell, breathing out allowing the tummy to fall
- Supplements such as fish oil and ginkgo may be helpful. Fish oil can help your tolerance to cold. Gingko could possibly help to decrease the number of attacks.
During an attack:
- Get indoors or to a warmer area
- Wiggle your finger and toes
- Place your hands under your armpits
- Make wide circles with your arms
- Run warm -not hot – water over your fingers and toes
- Massage your hands and feet
So dressing for the cold in layaers, wearing gloves and or heavy socks are all good measures to take during cold weather if you suffer from Raynaud’s. Also if you feel that stress plays a factor look at your work/life balance and try to steer clear of stressful situations that can trigger an attack.
For more helpful advice contact the SRUK (Sclerodema & Raynaud’s UK)
If you would like to book an acupuncture treatment please contact Angela