In Raynaud’s disease, a condition called as Vasospasm occurs in which arteries that supply blood to some body organs viz. hands, feet, lips, nipples get contracted, often as a response to low temperature. As a result of reduced blood supply, these body organs become numb and pale. They often turn blue and lose their warmth. Sense of touch is subdued. The attack may last for several hours. When circulation improves, affected area becomes reddish and swollen. Ulcers on the infected parts worsen the situation. Types:-|
It occurs independently without any apparent underlying cause or medical condition.
Although it is rare, it is more severe than its primary counterpart. It is often manifested on account of some underlying disease.
3. Sjogren’s syndrome
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
5. Carpal tunnel syndrome
7. Certain medications
8. Exposure to chemicals
9. Thyroid gland malfunctions
In extreme case of Raynaud’s disease, blood circulation to fingers and toes is permanently reduced causing deformities in bones and muscles. In case, any artery is blocked, gangrene or ulcers may develop. Surgery may be required for their removal.
Primary diagnosis includes physical exam and analysis of symptoms and medical history. Nail fold capillaroscopy is performed to check existence of underlying disease. In this procedure, nail fold is observed to check for deformed capillaries. Antinuclear antibodies test: - Positive results indicate connective tissue disorder or autoimmune disorder. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate: - Higher than normal ESR indicates underlying autoimmune or inflammatory disorder.
Patients are recommended to wear protective clothes. Medications are administered to dilate arteries and enhance blood flow.
• Calcium channel blockers like nifedipine, amlodipine to relax and dilate smooth muscles. Also useful for ulcers.
• Alpha blockers: - drugs like prazosin, doxazosin work by counteracting effects of norepinephrine which constricts blood vessels.
• Vasodilators: - Blood pressure drug like losartan, ED drug like sildenafil, antidepressant like fluoxetine can be prescribed to relieve the symptoms. Prostaglandin medicines also help soothe the symptoms.
• Nitroglycerin cream is used to heal ulcers.
Surgeries and medical procedures:-
• Nerve surgery: - In the sympathectomy procedure, Sympathetic nerve cells in hands are cut off. If successful, it reduces frequency and severity of attacks.
• Chemical injections are administered to block sympathetic nerve cells in hands. This procedure needs to be repeated many times.
• Amputation:-This is the last option and used only if gangrene development has occurred.
Patients are advised not to use beta blocker drugs and pregnancy pills.
Avoiding smoking and caffeine, Stress management, regular exercising are some of the ways to prevent Raynaud’s disease. Using protective outfits, moving to moderate climate zones would also help.
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