Raynaud’s Disease is a disorder of the blood vessels, which makes the blood vessels narrow. This usually occurs in the fingers and toes but can also affect hands and feet. Though Raynaud’s Disease causes are still being understood, we can look into what we do know about the circumstances, triggers, and risk factors of Raynaud’s and its symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
- Cold fingers or toes
- Color changes in skin; skin becomes white or blue-ish
- Pain upon warming or stress relief
- In more severe cases, it can cause sores or tissue death
Causes of Raynaud’s are not fully understood. But we have been able to observe the circumstances in which Raynaud’s takes place. These help us understand the causes and risk factors associated with Raynaud’s.
There are known triggers of what are called vasospasms – this is when your blood constrict and limit blood flow. The most common causes of vasospasms are exposure to cold or emotional stress. As we age and blood vessel walls thicken and harden, these occur even more.
In order to understand the root causes of Raynaud’s, we have to make the distinction between two types of Raynaud’s: Primary Raynaud’s (or Raynaud’s Disease) and Secondary Raynaud’s (or Raynaud’s Phenomenon).
Causes for Primary Raynaud’s are not known, even though this is the more common of the two. Sometimes the symptoms can be mild and many who have Primary Raynaud’s do not seek medical treatment. It can also resolve on its own.
Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by another condition, disease, or factor. (Naturally, this makes causes easier to narrow down). Many are specific diseases and conditions that have been linked with Raynaud’s. Others can be caused by behavior and other factors.
Diseases and conditions:
- Connective tissue diseases
- Diseases of the arteries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Injuries to hands or feet
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Blood disorders
- Autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome and lupus
- Dermatomyositis and polymyositis (muscle diseases characterized by muscle inflammation)
- Buerger’s disease (a rare disease of arteries and veins in the arms and legs)
Other conditions and lifestyle behaviors
- Repetitive action or vibration
- Certain medications
- Exposure to workplace chemicals
Most of the causes for Raynaud’s are outside of our control. Seeking treatment for these causes will decrease your likelihood of additionally experiencing Raynaud’s. Other causes can be avoided – like quitting smoking or checking with your doctor about the side effects of certain medications.
Risk factors are circumstances that increase your likelihood of experiencing Raynaud’s in your life.
- Women are more likely than men to have Primary Raynaud’s.
- As we age, our blood vessel walls harden and thicken. The more advanced in age, the more likely you are to experience Raynaud’s.
- Family history. Those with close relations that have the disease are at higher risk of primary Raynaud’s.
- Living in a cold climate increases the likelihood of having Primary Raynaud’s.
There is no current cure for Raynaud’s disease but there are ways to ease the symptoms, such as covering the air and keeping the hands and feet warm. See more ideas for treatment here.
Symptoms of Raynaud’s occur when the blood vessels are narrow. Widening the blood vessels may help ease symptoms of Raynaud’s. Heartbeet Complete is a beetroot powder supplement. Beets contain dietary nitrate. This is converted to nitric oxide in the body, which relaxes and opens the blood vessels.
When to See Your Doctor
Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience severe symptoms of Raynaud’s, such as sores or infections in your finger and toes.
The Bottom Line
We are still learning more about Raynaud’s Disease and its causes. Symptoms, including cold fingers and toes, numbness, and tingling are often brought on by cold temperatures and stress. Other conditions and diseases can cause Secondary Raynaud’s. Certain risk factors like age, family history, and living in a cold climate can increase your risk of Raynaud’s. Treatment is also limited, but warming your hands and using Heartbeet Complete can be a good place to start. Always talk with your doctor about any concerns you have about Raynaud’s.