Raynaud’s syndrome: what is it?
Raynaud’s syndrome is a rare circulatory disorder in which the blood supply to the fingers is disrupted. What characterizes the phenomenon referred to as Raynaud’s disease is that circulatory disorders occur in the form of seizures. Sudden, intermittent narrowing of the blood vessels severely obstructs blood flow to the fingers. Fingers become pale, and discomfort and pain can be part of the seizure. Vascular disease is known as white finger disease. This disease is relatively rare, but it affects more women than men. Vascular spasms usually go away on their own after a short time and blood flow to the fingers returns to normal. In acute and severe cases, vascular disruption can also persist for a long time, with the risk of damage to blood vessels and tissues. If the tissues are not supplied with blood reliably and adequately, necrosis can occur, in which cells die.
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1. Symptoms of Raynaud’s Syndrome
The classic symptom of Raynaud’s syndrome is white discoloration of the fingers due to narrowing of the blood vessels. In most cases, the entire finger does not become pale, but only the top two phalanxes. Discoloration of the circulatory disorder usually progresses through three stages:
- pale fingers
- Blue fingers
- red fingers
The discoloration usually occurs symmetrically, that is, it affects both hands. Toes are rarely affected by Raynaud’s syndrome. Although other parts of the body can also be affected by circulatory disorders, this is not usually Raynaud’s syndrome. In addition to finger discoloration, other symptoms often occur, such as
- cold in the fingers
- Tingling sensation before or during the seizure
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2. Causes of circulatory disorder
The etiology of the described symptoms can be traced back to sudden vasoconstriction in the hands and fingers of the affected. However, the cause of intermittent vasoconstriction and disruption of blood flow is not yet known. If Raynaud’s syndrome is inevitable and not the result of a disease or other underlying cause, experts talk about primary Raynaud’s syndrome. One can only speculate about the triggers here. It is assumed, for example, that disorders of the nervous system or hormonal balance are to blame, because vascular attacks often occur at cold temperatures and in extremely stressful situations.
Doctors understand secondary Raynaud’s syndrome when a circulatory disorder occurs as a direct result of another disease. Diseases that directly affect the nerves or blood vessels are particularly common, such as:
3. Raynaud’s syndrome treatment
Raynaud’s syndrome usually occurs spontaneously, develops in brief episodes of vascularization lasting about 30 minutes and then goes away on its own. Except for the characteristic color of the fingers and occasional numbness and discomfort, the vascular disorder is harmless and does not cause problems. Sufferers can often relieve symptoms and help resolve seizures by warming and moving their fingers. This stimulates blood circulation.
In severe cases, such as a prolonged circulatory disorder with a risk of damage to blood vessels and tissues, doctors may also order medications. Medications that stimulate blood flow can relieve symptoms.
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