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Raynaud's syndrome is a painful condition usually affecting the hands and feet. A few with the condition may develop another rheumatoligical condition in the future. Raynaud's syndrome is due to poor circulation, usually in the hands and feet. The tiny blood vessels in the affected area close down, supplying very little blood to the extremities. Numbness results and on warming, the area may throb painfully.
When Raynaud's syndrome occurs alone it is known as primary Raynaud's when it occurs with another related condition it is known as secondary Raynaud's syndrome. Raynaud's syndrome occurs in up to 5% of typical healthy populations. Over 90% of patients with Raynaud's phenomenon are female and under 25 years of age when they first develop the syndrome. Up to 5% of patients presenting with the condition eventually develop an autoimmune rheumatic disease. Raynaud's syndrome occurs on and off, usually as a response to cold or, rarely, as an emotional reaction. The affected areas, usually fingers or toes, turn very white or blue and become numb when cold. On warming, they turn bright red and throb painfully. Raynaud's syndrome may be mistaken for chilblains by sufferers, so continued episodes of suspected chilblains should be checked.
The development of gangrene due to Raynaud's syndrome is relatively rare, and because patients are often young, recovery may be remarkable, up to 5% of patients with Raynaud's syndrome eventually develop an autoimmune rheumatic disease.
Smoking and passive smoking should be avoided as the chemicals in tobacco smoke can cause blood vessels to constrict and harden the arteries, which further impairs oxygen supply to the extremities.
Patients should guard hands and feet from direct trauma and wounds. Any wounds or infections need early treatment to prevent more serious infections. Avoiding emotional stresses and tools that vibrate the hand may reduce the frequency of attacks. If you suffer from cold feet it is worth a consultation with a podiatrist to review your peripheral circulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Page last updated 14 October, 2007