Raynaud’s Syndrome [When Your Toes, Hands or Feet Turn Red or White]
🦶Raynauds syndrome, Raynaud’s disease & Raynaud’s phenomenon? We review the symptoms, treatments & more!🦶
Raynaud’s phenomenon, also known as Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s disease, is a medical condition that affects the blood vessels, primarily in the fingers and toes.
Primary Raynaud’s, also known as Raynaud’s disease, is the most common form and occurs without any underlying medical condition. Secondary Raynaud’s is associated with an underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disorder (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus) or connective tissue disease (e.g., scleroderma).
Raynaud Symptoms: The primary symptom of Raynaud’s phenomenon is the change in color of the affected areas, usually the fingers and toes. During an episode, the affected areas may turn white (pallor), then blue or purple (cyanosis), and finally red (rubor) as blood flow is restored. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, throbbing, or a sensation of coldness in the affected areas.
Triggers: Raynaud’s episodes are often triggered by exposure to cold temperatures or emotional stress. Cold weather, air conditioning, touching cold objects, or even holding a cold beverage can bring on an episode. Emotional stress and anxiety can also lead to a Raynaud’s attack in susceptible individuals.
Pathophysiology: Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs due to an exaggerated response of the blood vessels to cold or stress. The small arteries that supply blood to the extremities constrict excessively, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the affected areas. This vasoconstriction is believed to be caused by an abnormal nervous system response and blood vessels’ response to certain triggers.
Diagnosis: A diagnosis of Raynaud’s phenomenon is usually based on the patient’s symptoms and a physical examination. Your doctor may also perform additional tests, such as nail fold capillaroscopy to examine the tiny blood vessels at the base of the nail, blood tests to check for underlying conditions, or thermography to assess blood flow and temperature changes in the affected areas.
Treatment: Treatment for Raynaud’s phenomenon aims to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and address any underlying causes. The main approach is to avoid triggers and keep the extremities warm. This can involve wearing warm clothing, gloves, and socks, using hand and foot warmers, and preventing exposure to cold environments. Medications that help dilate blood vessels (vasodilators) may sometimes be prescribed.
Complications: While Raynaud’s phenomenon is not life-threatening, severe and long-lasting episodes can cause complications. In rare cases, prolonged blood flow restriction can lead to tissue damage, ulcers, or even gangrene. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent or severe symptoms.
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Dr. Tomasz Biernacki received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from Kent State College of Podiatric Medicine in 2013; he completed his Surgical Reconstructive Foot Surgery & Podiatric Medicine Residency in 2017; he completed 2 separate traveling Fellowships in Diabetic Surgery, Skin Grafting & Nerve Surgery. He is double board certified in Podiatric Medicine and separately in Foot & Ankle Surgery. His use of “doctor” or “Dr.” about himself solely refers to that degree. Dr. Biernacki is a licensed podiatrist in Michigan. This video is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, prescription, or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Biernacki and you. It would be best if you did not change your health regimen or diet before consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.