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Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition characterised by short-term reduction in blood flow to the extremities. It can also be a symptom of underlying auto-immune disease. We normally see Raynaud’s in colder climates but it can still present itself here in Queensland.

Raynaud’s disease is a illness that causes a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the extremities – namely the fingers and toes. Cold and stress can typically exaggerated the response.

Symptoms of Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease usually presents as a colour change in the fingertips or toes. They will often initially turn from white, to blue. The affected areas may begin to feel cold, or may also experience feeling changes such as burning, tingling, and lastly  numbness.

A prolonged lack of blood supply will cause tissue breakdown in the form of ulcerations.

The affected area can turn pink or red with a burning or prickly feeling once circulation is returned.

Raynaud’s can show as primary or secondary. Primary Raynaud’s, or Raynaud’s disease, is a illness that has no exact cause. It typically shows on its own. There are fewer serious implications with primary Raynaud’s compared to secondary Raynaud’s.

Secondary Raynaud’s is a more serious disorder usually associated with conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, and scleroderma. It can also be associated with atherosclerosis, smoking, excessive vibration, frost-bite and medications.

Treatment of Raynaud’s disease

Treatment for Raynaud’s should always begin by addressing the underlying cause. Your GP may need to make a formal diagnosis. Keeping your hands and feet warm and movement of the area may increase the blood supply. Your GP may issue medications in serious cases to assist with opening up and relaxing the blood vessels.