Colder Weather May Bring Added Discomfort For Raynaud's Sufferers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 14:02
taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/denisecarbonell/3269836335/ via creative commonsColder weather triggers a painful and sometimes debilitating disorder for many who suffer from Raynaud's disease. Raynaud's is an autoimmune disorder in which spasms in the blood vessels can interrupt blood flow to the fingers, toes, nose and ears. Exposure to cold triggers the spasms, typically causing the affected area to turn white, then blue, then bright red. Emotional stress can also cause an attack.

During an attack, Raynaud's sufferers experience tingling, swelling or painful throbbing. Episodes may last from minutes to hours. In severe cases, the area may develop ulcerations and infections.

According to the Raynaud's Association, only one out of five sufferers seeks treatment. Both men and women suffer from Raynaud's, but women are nine times more likely to be affected. "Some researchers estimate as many as 20 percent of all women in their childbearing years have Raynaud's," says Lynn Wunderman, chair of the Raynaud's Association.

"Too many Raynaud's sufferers dismiss their symptoms as being due to 'poor circulation,'" Wunderman says. "In a sense that's true, but there's a medical cause for their poor circulation -- and sometimes it can be serious."

In some cases, Raynaud's symptoms may indicate a serious underlying disorder such as Scleroderma, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Robert Riggs, CEO of the Scleroderma Foundation, notes that more than 90 percent of people diagnosed with systemic scleroderma also have Raynaud's. "In most of these cases, Raynaud's is the first symptom."

These patients are considered to have "secondary Raynaud's," meaning another associated disease is present. Fortunately, however, most Raynaud's sufferers have the more benign "primary" form. The Raynaud's Association and the Scleroderma Foundation advise individuals with symptoms to consult with their physicians, who can perform simple blood tests to determine whether or not antibodies associated with other diseases are present. Rheumatologists -- physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis, Raynaud's and diseases of the joints, muscles and bones -- may be consulted.

At this time there is no cure for Raynaud's, although research is underway. In the meantime, sufferers are advised to avoid cold temperatures as much as possible, effect lifestyle changes and protect the affected extremities with gloves, hats and other such measures. "Obviously, winter presents the biggest challenges," says Wunderman. So, should Raynaud's sufferers move south for the winter? "Well," she concludes, "that might help somewhat, if you can avoid all of those frigid air conditioned places -- not an option for many sufferers in their daily lives."

This article was taken in part from the PR Newswire. For a link to the orginal  article, click here. To find out more about Raynaud's, click here for our previous article, and do visit the Raynaud's Association for more... and do remember to stay warm.
 
More articles :

» Biomarker Shows Promise In Scleroderma

A biomarker that can be used to screen patients for has shown promise in a proof of concept study. Researchers from St Vincent’s in Melbourne found (ADMA) levels had an acceptable high specificity and sensitivity for detecting the complication,...

» The Dendritic Cell and The Link between Atherosclerosis and Autoimmunity

Individuals who suffer from autoimmune diseases also display a tendency to develop – the condition popularly known as hardening of the arteries. Clinical researchers at LMU, in collaboration with colleagues in Würzburg, have now discovered a...

» Our Donors

The Scleroderma Care Foundation wishes to express our appreciation and gratitude for the generosity and support extended to us, by all of our donors to date, and the list keeps on growing. Your contributions have all been incredibly helpful and...

» Vitamin D Deficiency

How To Get More Vitamin DBy , Ph.D.Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a host of age-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis and even overall mortality. Vitamin D is fast on its way to becoming the “number one...

» Survival In Pulmonary Hypertension

Stephen C. Mathai, Laura K. Hummers, Hunter C. Champion, Fredrick M. Wigley, Ari Zaiman, Paul M. Hassoun, and Reda E. GirgisARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISMVol. 60, No. 2, February 2009, pp 569–577 DOI 10.1002/art.24267 © 2009, American College of...

» Understanding Arthritis

According to the , arthritis literally means joint inflammation. But the term is often used to refer to any of the more than 100 diseases that affect the joints – where two or more bones meet to allow movement. Currently, there are 46 million...