Raynaud’s disease, syndrome or phenomenon as some may refer to it, is a condition that occurs when blood vessels in your bodies extremities overreact to either cold conditions or stress.
The symptoms most commonly occur in the feet, fingers/ hands, one’s nose and even your ears and knees in more severe conditions. People who live with this condition are often unphased by it, and some don’t even know that they have it. Reduced blood flow in your body, however, can cause more damage than one might think.
The Raynaud’s Syndrome
When it’s cold, your body naturally tries to preserve its heat by slowing down your blood flow, which is reserved for your extremities, your arms and legs specifically.
It often causes your feet and fingers/hands to feel numb and even turn various colour, especially blue.
Ultimately this condition causes your smaller arteries to reduce the amount of blood flow to those points and as a result also moves further away from your skin.
Having the condition isn’t dangerous in all cases per say, but it can get dangerous in severe cases, as adequate blood flow to your extremities or any part of your body is always extremely important.
It generally lasts for around 15 minutes but can last longer. As soon as the arteries recover, and your body is back in tune with its body heat, the affected area might feel like its tingling before returning to normal.
Different Types of Raynaud’s Phenomenon
There is a primary and secondary type of Raynaud’s. The primary type will occur without any underlying illness, resulting in symptoms that are only considered to be mild, while secondary Raynaud’s happens because of other diseases.
Secondary Raynaud’s is more severe than primary and is a condition that attacks the body’s connective tissues. Illnesses present in secondary Raynaud’s are most popularly rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. The secondary Raynaud’s is much less common than primary but can also cause some serious health issues if not treated properly. The effects include skin sores, as well as gangrene, which can even cause you to lose your fingers or toes, in severe conditions. It all depends on the amount of blood flow you’re getting to your extremities.
Who is More Likely to Get it?
Although Raynaud’s is a condition that to most, is unheard of, one out of ten people have it and don’t even know about it. It is the case with primary Raynaud’s.
When it comes to secondary, only one out of a hundred people have it.
Women are far more likely to get this condition, as opposed to men. It can also occur in people of all ages, which can start to appear between the ages of 15 and 25.
Those who have scleroderma, lupus and arthritis are more prone to develop secondary Raynaud’s.
It can be a dangerous condition, which if present, should be treated with a health professional’s medical expertise.