What Is Raynaud’s Phenomenon?
Raynaud’s Syndrome is a disorder that affects 5% of the general population and 15% of women between the ages of 15 and 40. Raynaud’s causes an over-reaction to cold. In freezing weather, our bodies shunt (move) blood away from our hands and feet to keep the core of our bodies warm. With Raynaud’s, a simple fan, air conditioner, or summer breeze can result in spasms, constriction (closing) of the blood vessels, and painful loss of blood flow to the hands and feet.
Raynaud’s can be a problem by itself with no other disease symptoms (primary Raynaud’s), or it can be secondary to an inflammatory disease (secondary Raynaud’s).
I have secondary Raynaud’s—secondary to CREST syndrome—and my Raynaud’s disease symptoms are very severe. My hands had such poor blood flow that arterial ulcers formed, and the wounds became so deep that my doctor discussed the very real possibility of amputation in the future if we could not control my symptoms. My nails were ready to fall off and the pain was horrendous.
Now the majority of the time my hands are pink and healthy, and I live a quality life with little pain. It is my hope and prayer that the lessons I’ve learned from living with Raynaud’s will help someone else who suffers from this problem.
Here are some additional resources about Raynaud’s: