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Coping with Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a rare disorder in which small arteries in various parts of the body have spasms. While the spasms can be painful, they are not life threatening. Raynaud’s primarily affects the fingers, however the toes, nose, ears, nipples, and lips can also be affected at times. 

Dignity Health doctors are knowledgeable about many rare vascular conditions, including Raynaud’s disease, in the Bay Area. Find a Doctor today to discuss your symptoms and receive the personal care you deserve.

Common Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease

Spasms caused by Raynaud’s disease occur in response to cold conditions or emotional stress. You may experience these symptoms during a Raynaud’s spasm: 

  • Skin that turns white and then possibly blue for a short period of time
  • Cold feeling or numbness in the affected area
  • Skin that turns red and throbs, tingles, or burns as blood flow returns
  • Ulcers or lesions of the fingers, toes, nose, lips, or earlobes

What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?

Raynaud’s disease is divided into two groups: primary or secondary. Primary Raynaud’s — the more common type — develops on its own, without being caused by another health issue. Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by another medical condition.

The cause of primary Raynaud’s disease is unknown. However, the disorder improves or cures itself in most adults who have it. 

Raynaud’s phenomenon, another name for secondary Raynaud’s, can be caused by several factors, including: 

  • An underlying disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Certain medications, including drug treatments for migraine headaches that constrict the arteries
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Exposure to certain chemicals
  • Trauma to the hands or feet

How to Treat & Prevent Raynaud’s at Dignity Health

Today, there is no known cure for Raynaud’s disease. Your Dignity Health doctor may recommend treatment and prevention strategies that focus on reducing the occurrence of spasms and maintaining your quality of life. 

Sometimes, medication is prescribed. Surgery is almost never needed to treat the symptoms of Raynaud’s. 

The frequency and severity of Raynaud’s attacks can be reduced by lifestyle changes that help you avoid exposure to cold and promote relaxation. Minor changes, such as wearing gloves in the winter and warming up your car during cold weather, are sometimes enough to improve your quality of life. Keeping your skin and feet clean, warm, and dry can help prevent sores, ulcers, and infections.

The doctors at Dignity Health focus on treating the whole person and not just the condition. Learn more about the expert cardiology services provided at Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area. 

Dignity Health offers patients many services, including the treatment of rare disorders, such as Raynaud’s disease, in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.