Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud's Diagram 

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What is Raynaud’s?

Raynaud’s Phenomenon (sometimes referred to as Raynaud’s Disease or Raynaud’s Syndrome) is one of many conditions that is commonly linked with Fibromyalgia. While normally affecting the fingers and toes, symptoms can also appear on the nose, lips and earlobes. A Raynaud’s flare up is usually a response to cold weather/conditions and or emotional stress. During a Raynaud’s attack, the sufferer will experience a noticeable “chill” (to put it lightly) in the affected area (much more severe than the rest of the body, if exposed to cold weather), often accompanied by a feeling of numbness and discoloration of the skin. This happens due to the blood vessels in these areas constricting as a response to the cold or stressed emotions (this is called a “vasospastic attack”). The rest of your body may feel comfortable, while your hands or feet are reminiscent of ice blocks.

Primary or Secondary Raynaud’s? Unilateral Raynauds?
There are three categories of Raynaud’s Syndrome; Primary, Secondary and Unilateral. 

Primary Raynaud’s

is diagnosed without the belief that it is caused by another condition.  In this form, it is a “stand-alone” and the cause is often unknown.    

Secondary Raynaud’s

is associated with Fibromyalgia. This is, of course, thought to be brought on as a “symptom” of pre-existing condition.  Other diseases associated with Raynaud’s include Lupus and Scleroderma.  Secondary Raynaud’s is also associated with Anorexia, work related injuries, multiple forms of trauma and as a response to some prescription medications.  

Unilateral Raynaud’s

causes symptoms to occur  in only one foot or hand and is much more uncommon.  

 
Who Is Most Susceptible?
As mentioned, this condition is often found in those with Fibro. The statistics show that initial flare ups are most common in women between the ages of 15-25 years of age. However, while less frequent, men are also susceptible. Colder climates tend to bring on more frequent and severe attacks.

How is Raynaud’s Diagnosed?

Of course, Raynaud’s can only be affectively diagnosed (or explained) by a health care provider.  He or she will likely review your medical history and rule out other issues before making a diagnosis.  If a vasospastic attack occurs during the visit to the doctor, a diagnosis may be easier made.  Raynaud’s can be a precursor to other conditions and should not be ignored. 

 

 

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