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Health Condition

Raynaud’s Disease

About This Condition

Raynaud’s disease is a condition caused by constriction and spasms of small arteries, primarily in the hands after exposure to cold. Frequently, white or bluish discoloration of the hands (and sometimes toes, cheeks, nose, or ears) will occur after exposure to cold or emotional stress.

The cause of Raynaud’s disease is unknown. A condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon causes similar symptoms, but it is the result of connective tissue disease or exposure to certain chemicals. The same natural remedies are used to treat both disorders.

Symptoms

Fingers (generally not the thumb) or other affected parts of the body may feel numb or cold during an episode, and later, after warming, may become bright red with a throbbing painful sensation.

Other Therapies

In severe cases, sympathectomy (surgical interruption of sympathetic nerve pathways) may be recommended. People with Raynaud’s disease are commonly advised to dress warmly during the winter and to avoid tobacco use and unnecessary exposure to cold, especially of the affected parts.

References

1. Digiacomo RA, Kremer JM, Shah DM. Fish-oil dietary supplementation in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon: a double-blind, controlled, prospective study. Am J Med 1989;86:158-64.

2. Aylward M. Hexopal in Raynaud's disease. J Int Med Res 1979;7:484-91.

3. Holti G. An experimentally controlled evaluation of the effect of inositol nicotinate upon the digital blood flow in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon. J Int Med Res 1979;7:473-83.

4. Ring EF, Bacon PA. Quantitative thermographic assessment of inositol nicotinate therapy in Raynaud's phenomenon. J Int Med Res 1977;5:217-22.

5. Belch JJF, Shaw B, O'Dowd A, et al. Evening primrose oil (Efamol) in the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon: A double-blind study. Throm Haemost 1985;54(2):490-4.

6. Kleijnen J, Knipschild P. Ginkgo biloba. Lancet 1992;340:1136-9 [review].

7. Clement JL, Livecchi G, Jimenez C, et al. Modifications vasomotrices des extrémités lors l'exposition à des conditions thermiques défavorables. Méthodologie et résultant de l'étude de l'extrait de Ginkgo biloba. Acutal Angiol 1982;7:3-8.

8. Gasser P, Martina B, Dubler B. Reaction of capillary blood cell velocity in nailfold capillaries to L-carnitine in patients with vasospastic disease. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1997;23:39-43.

9. Leppert J, Aberg H, Levin K, et al. The concentration of magnesium in erythrocytes in female patients with primary Raynaud's phenomenon; fluctuation with the time of year. Angiology 1994;45:283-8.

10. Smith WO, Hammarsten JF, Eliel LP. The clinical expression of magnesium deficiency. JAMA 1960;174:77-8.

11. Turlapaty P, Altura BM. Magnesium deficiency produces spasms of coronary arteries; relationship to etiology of sudden death ischemic heart disease. Science 1980;208:198-200.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.