Living With Raynaud’s Disease
What Is Raynaud’s Disease?
Today while shopping in Walmart my fingers started to go numb. Mind you it was 95° outside. But inside Walmart it was probably 25-30° cooler. The contrast in temperature was enough to trigger my Raynaud’s symptoms. Raynaud’s Disease occurs when the small arteries in your extremities narrow, which can limit blood flow to those areas. When you have an attack the arteries go into “vasospasms” which limit the blood supply and oxygen. I have secondary Raynaud’s which is associated with my lupus, sjogren’s and rheumatoid arthritis. I do not get severe symptoms but one or more fingers will go numb and turn white.
I was playing with a new app on my phone and created this cool picture. You can really tell where my hand was not getting circulation!
What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?
The things that trigger these symptoms for me are the contrast in temperature as I experienced in Walmart, touching something frozen, or temperatures below about 45°. I’ve read that stress can also trigger the symptoms for some people.
What You Can Do To Help?
There isn’t a cure for Raynaud’s Disease but there are medications that can dilate the blood vessels as well as surgery to lessen the symptoms. Since my symptoms are not severe I choose not to use either of those options. One option suggested online is to move to a warmer climate. I think the south Texas area where I live is about as warm as I like it so that is not an option! Fish oil is a supplement I take and it has been shown in some studies to improve your tolerance to cold. I always wear pants or a jacket with pockets so I can put my hands in to warm up. In the winter I have a pair of gloves in every coat and sweater. Hand warmers that I’ve made from this tutorial are also in my coat.
In addition, I just recently came across this circulation rub made from essential oils from Camp Wander. I’m definitely going to give this a try!