Raynaud’s syndrome – Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

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Raynaud’s syndrome is the discoloration of the fingers or toes after exposure to change in temperature or an emotional event. This discoloration occurs in the following sequence

White => blue => Red

The white colour indicates an inadequacy of blood flow through the vessels, the blue colour indicates the depletion of oxygen in the part, and the red colour showing that its restoring to normality. All these discolorations are due to sudden spasms of the distal arteries, mainly in the hands and feets.
When the Raynaud’s syndrome disorder initiates alone, it is called a Primary raynaud’s syndrome, but when it comes together or as a symptom of another disease, it is referred to as Secondary raynaud’s syndrome.

This syndrome more frequently occur in women, in post menopausal stage. The main causes that iniates the syndrome are
* Smoking
* Emotional stress
* Cold
* Handling appliances that vibrate, such as hair dryers or kitchen blenders.

This syndrome is mostly common in patients with Scleroderma, and the symptoms are :
* Skin discoloration, in the sequence White > Blue > Red

* Mild tingling of the involved digit(s)

* Ulceration of the tips of digits, due to lack of oxygen and can eventually lead to gangrene

* Pains in affected parts.

This syndrome can be prevented by

* Keeping body warm through wearing very warm clothes

* Avoiding bare-footed walks

* Avoiding the use of tight wrist bands and footwears

* Avoiding tobacco {smoking}, as it contains chemicals which can cause blood vessels constriction

* Avoiding emotional stress

* Avoiding or minimizing the use of appliances that vibrate.

Certains foods can also contribute in preventing its appearance, an increase in the consumption of Vitamin E, Garlic, nuts, flavonoids and fish oil can effectively prevent it, and also the elimination or reduction of alcoholic and stimulant beverages can also help in its prevention.

Raynaud’s syndrome can be treated by

* The application of ointments that open blood vessels on affected parts to increase blood supply

* Oral intake of medications that open blood vessels, this is usually common to persistent Raynaud’s Syndrome patients

* Sympathectory surgery, also an effective way of treating it.

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Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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