Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition where the blood supply to the fingers and toes is reduced. This commonly happens in cold weather where the tiny blood vessels supplying these areas go into spasm, constricting and reducing blood supply.
Symptoms and signs of Raynaud’s
Less blood to an area leads to numbness, pins and needles, and the area often looks pale, white or even bluish in colour, and of course less blood means less warmth and a horrible icy cold, numb feeling. Sometimes the area even becomes painful. The most common areas affected are the extremities of the body i.e., fingertips and toes, but in some cases the tip of the nose, ears, lips or even nipples can be affected. Raynaud’s is most common during wintertime as naturally when we are exposed to cold our body restricts blood flow to the body surface to prevent us loosing heat.
Causes and types of Raynaud’s
Raynaud’s phenomenon is the broad name for this condition, but it’s actually divided into two groups. Raynaud’s disease (primary Raynaud’s) is when this occurs without any underlying illness or disease, you’re prone to it and essentially it just happens! But Raynaud’s syndrome on the other hand (secondary Raynaud’s) is where it happens because of another condition or disease.
- No known underlying cause.
- Can be common in families.
- Often in women and girls.
- Happens in cold weather.
Raynaud’s syndrome could be linked with:
- Old age.
- Chemical exposure.
- Side effect of medications.
- Diseases of the blood vessels and cardiovascular system.
- Thyroid problems.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Connective tissue disease e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma (auto-immune conditions).
- History of injury to the part.
What to do?
If you get Raynaud’s phenomenon for the first time, have it checked out by your doctor first to see if It’s simply Raynaud’s disease (no serous underlying condition). or if there is perhaps some other cause (Raynaud’s syndrome).
Generally speaking, the following is advisable:
- Prepare for cold conditions to reduce excessive exposure.
- Don’t handle icy cold things.
- Wear gloves on cold days outdoors.
- Don’t walk around barefoot especially on cold floors, and wear socks to bed.
- Do not smoke. This will worsen your condition as smoking affects the way blood flows through the smaller blood vessels.
- Avoid or manage stress as this has a similarly adverse effect on blood flow.
- Exercise regularly (even if only gently) as this will improve blood flow around the body.
- Eat warming foods in cold weather, adding plenty of stimulating spices such as ginger and pepper. Omega-3 oils and garlic can also be used to aid the circulation and can both be used in the diet and taken as supplements.
- Nutrients that support the nervous system, such as vitamin B and magnesium, may be helpful supplements.
If you have Raynaud’s disease you can consider specifically taking A.Vogel Circulation Formula and A.Vogel Ginkgoforce.
A.Vogel Circulation Formula is a homeopathic medicine for the supportive treatment of poor peripheral circulation, which contains ingredients which address spasm of blood vessel walls. It’s specifically indicated for cold, pale, blue and numb extremities (e.g. Raynaud’s phenomenon).
A.Vogel Ginkgoforce is a western herbal medicine which supports circulation. It’s indicated for the supportive treatment of circulatory disorders leading to symptoms such as coldness and discomfort of the extremities.
Parts of this article originally appeared on A.Vogel and can be found on How to avoid those white, numb, Raynaud’s fingers in cold weather and Raynaud’s Syndrome.