There are many different reasons for poor circulation including high cholesterol, heart disease, being a smoker, artery disease, blood clots, diabetes, obesity, and Raynaud’s disease. The majority of these causes you may be familiar with, but you might not fully know or understand what Raynaud’s disease is.
Raynaud’s disease affects blood circulation, which can lead to feelings of numbness, tingling, and pain. The blood vessels become temporarily constricted, which impairs circulation.
Raynaud’s disease affects patients worse during the colder months, as blood vessels tend to constrict more when its cold. Stress and anxiety can also worsen the effects of the disease.
It is as common as arthritis, yet over three-quarters of the population have never heard of it. For this reason, February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month.
There are two different types of Raynaud’s disease: primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s is less serious and symptoms are generally mild. Secondary Raynaud’s is more severe and patients may also have other underlying medical conditions contributing or associated with Raynaud’s.
Roughly one in 10 patients with Raynaud’s will go on to develop an autoimmune disease, most commonly scleroderma. In scleroderma, the skin hardens, and it can spread to affect the organs too.
Raynaud’s can be distinguished as it causes fingers or toes to appear blue or white due to lack of circulation. The affected area will appear bright red when circulation is restored by either destressing or warming up.
When a Raynaud’s attack is occurring, it can be quite difficult to complete simple tasks like buttoning a jacket or using a zipper.
Typically, Raynaud’s disease can be managed and is only a temporary inconvenience. As long as you keep stress levels low and body temperature warm, you can reduce flare-ups. But if your Raynaud’s is negatively impacting your quality of life, you should speak to a doctor. Your doctor can prescribe medications to help manage symptoms. They will also want to run other medical tests to rule out conditions that could be worsening your Raynaud’s.
A good way to manage symptoms at home is through de-stressing as much as you can and dressing warmly when you head out in the colder weather.