Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common disorder in which the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature causing the blood supply to be interrupted.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon affects between 3-20% of the adult population worldwide and is much more common in women.
An attack will often be triggered by touching cold objects or exposure to cold of any kind. Emotions, such as anxiety, may also play a part as can smoking.
Raynaud’s can be subdivided into primary or secondary.
Primary Raynaud’s can develop in anyone of any age. It occurs spontaneously without any underlying condition being present. It can be hereditary in which case it is usually fairly mild.
Secondary Raynaud’s is less common and is associated with underlying diseases such as scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
During an attack a number of changes take place in sufferer’s extremities. Most commonly affected are the fingers and toes, but other areas of the body such as ears and nose can also be involved.
First, the affected area become white and dead looking, then it may turn blue and finally red and burning when the blood flow is restored. There may also be considerable pain, numbness or tingling and severe cases loss of hand function.
These symptoms are due to an intermittent lack of blood in the affected parts when the arteries normally supplying them spasmodically contract.
Stress – Stress and emotional upsets may trigger a Raynaud’s attack, particularly for people who have primary Raynaud’s syndrome. Learning to effectively cope with stressful situations may help control the number of attacks. If you have a particularly demanding life this could be a major factor for your Raynaud’s attacks. An adrenal stress test can be a really useful way of pinpointing any imbalances in your stress hormones. Smart Nutrition could then use the results to put together a specific and personalised stress management programme for long term relief. Adrenal Stress Test.
Smoking – The nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict and skin temperature to drop, both of which can precipitate a Raynaud’s attack. Quitting smoking will help to restore some of the blood flow to the extremities can help reduce the incidence of Raynaud’s attacks. Unfortunately, for many, giving up smoking can be a difficult task. Luckily, nutritional therapy can provide a valuable support through this process, diet and supplements to support you body and reduce cravings. To find out more click the link below to book a consultation.
Diet and nutrient levels – Within the diet there are certain foods and nutrients that can be very beneficial for Raynaud’s sufferers. For example foods that have warming properties and nutrients that improve blood flow can help to encourage circulation to the extremities,and some nutrients help vascular integrity and hence reduce the incidence of symptoms. Book a Consultation.