Ever felt your fingers and toes beginning to get numb after being exposed to cold weather? You probably have; it’s not uncommon.
But whilst it’s undoubtedly unpleasant to get that tingling sensation during winter months, spare a thought for those who have Raynaud’s syndrome – a condition that effects about 5 percent of the U.S. population. Raynaud’s is a disorder of the arteries, wherein blood flow is significantly reduced to the body’s extremities.
This means that even when wearing a thick pair of gloves, sufferers can experience their fingers becoming numb and drastically changing color.
If you notice a problem with your blood circulation in cold weather, or during times of stress and anxiety, you could have Raynaud’s syndrome.
When your blood vessels narrow – a complication brought on by Raynaud’s – blood flow to the extremities can be limited. Your skin can appear white as a result, and then blue until the blood returns. The affected areas can also begin to do the following:
An ‘attack’ usually only lasts around 15 minutes, after which blood flow should return to normal. However, that’s still at least 15 minutes of being uncomfortable when you perhaps needn’t be.
We’ve compiled a list of five strategies that are great when it comes to stopping the hand and foot pain associated with Raynaud’s.
There’s no known treatment that can reverse the condition, but the key to minimising the effects lies in being aware of the triggers.
The most common cause of Raynaud’s is cold weather, which narrows blood vessels and causes fingers and toes to have limited blood supply.
It might seem obvious, but keeping your extremities as warm as can be is the best way to prevent an attack. This includes avoiding washing your hands in cold water, holding a cold drink (more so when you’re already cold) and taking food out of your freezer.
Stress and anxiety
Research has suggested that stress and anxiety can be linked to Raynaud’s episodes. Combatting your stress levels so that you remain calm and level throughout the day can be a useful technique in keeping Raynaud’s away. Try natural stress relievers throughout the day – things like yoga, meditation, physical activity and spending more time surrounded by nature.
The nicotine in cigarettes can actually increase the risk of you developing Raynaud’s syndrome, according to research. Giving up smoking can bring about a noticeable change.
Certain medications can increase your risk of having a Raynaud’s attack. Drugs that cause blood vessels to narrow can be problematic, as well as those that treat high blood pressure. These include ADHD medications, certain cancer medications, birth control pills and migraine medications.
Hand or foot injuries
If you’ve sustained an injury to your feet or hands, your arteries may not produce enough blood for your extremities. This can happen after having an accident (a fracture, for example), surgery or experiencing frost bite.
Having suffered from Raynaud’s myself, I know just how unpleasant the symptoms and effects can be.
Help us spread word of the cause and solutions of this condition by sharing this article on Facebook.