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RAYNAUD’S DISEASE

 Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes numbness and coldness in areas of the body such as the fingers, toes, tip of the nose and ears in response to cold temperatures or stress. With this condition, the blood vessels that supply blood to the skin are affected. During a Raynaud's attack, these arteries narrow. The result is limited blood circulation to affected areas.
A person can have Raynaud's with no underlying disease or condition associated with it. This is known as Raynaud's disease or primary Raynaud's. If and when it is associated with another disease, it may be termed Raynaud's phenomenon or secondary Raynaud's.

Only a small percentage of Americans are affected by Raynaud's disease and women are more likely to have the disorder than men. People who live in colder climates are typically affected more than anyone else.

Signs and symptoms of Raynaud's depend on the frequency as well as the duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder.

Signs and symptoms include:

- Sequence of color changes in your skin in response to cold or stress

- Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or relief of stress

Initially, during an attack of Raynaud's, affected areas of the skin usually turn white and then eventually to blue. The areas also feel cold and numb. Sensory perception becomes dull and the affected skin may look slightly swollen. The affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell as circulation improves. That pattern in which the changes of color occurs is not the same in all cases, and not everyone experiences all three colors.

In some cases, just one or two fingers or toes may be affected. Although in most cases the fingers and toes are affected, Raynaud's can also affect other areas of the body like the nose, cheeks, ears and even the tongue. An attack can last as little as under a minute to several hours. Over time, attacks may grow progressively worse.

People who have Raynaud's accompanied by another disease may also have symptoms related to their underlying condition.

The cause of Raynaud's attacks still remains a mystery to experts, but blood vessels in the hands and feet appear to overreact to cold temperatures or stress.

During exposure to cold temperature’s the body reduces blood supply to the fingers and toes to preserve it’s core temperature. The method in which this is done is by narrowing the small arteries under the skin of the extremities. However, in people with Raynaud's, this normal response is amplified. Stress causes a similar reaction to cold in the body, and similarly the body's response may be excessive.

With Raynaud's, arteries to the fingers and toes enter a state known as vasospasm, which is a sudden constriction of a blood vessel, causing a reduction in blood flow. As time goes on, these same small arteries may also become slightly thickheaded, limiting blood flow even more. This results in the affected skin turning a pale color due to the lack of blood flow to the area.

Cold temperatures are most likely to provoke an attack. Exposure to cold can be as simple as putting your hands under a faucet of running cold water, taking something out of the freezer or exposure to cold air. For some people, exposure to cold temperatures isn't necessary. Emotional stress alone can cause an episode of Raynaud's.

Some researchers are studying whether Raynaud's may be partly an inherited disorder.

Raynaud's occurs in two main types:

Primary Raynaud's - Also called Raynaud's disease, this is the most common form of the disorder and exists without an underlying disease or associated medical condition that could initiate vasospasm. Primary Raynaud's typically affects the digits of both hands and both feet.

Secondary Raynaud's - Also called Raynaud's phenomenon, this form of Raynaud's is caused by an underlying problem and usually affects both of the hands or both feet. Although less common than the primary form, secondary Raynaud's is often a more complex and serious disorder.

Causes of secondary Raynaud's include:

- Scleroderma

- Lupus

- Rheumatoid arthritis

- Sjogren's syndrome

- Diseases of the arteries

- Carpal tunnel syndrome

- Repetitive trauma

- Smoking

- Certain prescription medications (including beta blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure; migraine headache, medications that contain ergotamine; medications containing estrogen; certain chemotherapy agents; and drugs that cause blood vessels to narrow, such as some over-the-counter cold medications)

- Chemical exposure

- Other causes. Raynaud's has also been linked to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and, rarely, to certain cancers.

The regimen outlined below includes a holistic approach to treating & preventing Raynaud’s:

The diet should consist of 50 % raw foods.

Avoid fatty and fried foods.

Do not consume caffeine.

Keep hands and feet warm whenever possible by wearing comfortable shoes and gloves in cold weather.

Avoid stress whenever possible

Do not take drugs that restrict the blood vessels, such as birth control pills and migraine headache medications.

Do not smoke as nicotine restricts the blood vessels

Supplementing with the following may also be helpful:

Vitamin B-3 increases blood flow to the skin.

Coenzyme Q10 (100 - 200 mg daily) - Improves tissue oxygenation.

Vitamin E (begin with 200 IU daily & increase slowly to 1,000 IU daily) Improves circulation.

Calcium (1,500 mg daily), Magnesium (750 mg daily) and Zinc (50 mg daily) - Shield the arteries from stress caused by sudden blood pressure changes.

Chlorophyll (take as directed on label) - Combats infection and enhances blood flow.

Choline and Inositol (take as directed on label) - Lower cholesterol and aid circulation.

DMG (1 tablet 3 times daily) - Improves tissue oxygenation.

Lecithin (1,200 mg 3 times daily w/ meals) - Lowers blood lipid levels.

Black Cohosh (take as directed on label) - Aids circulation and lowers cholesterol levels.

Butcher’s Broom, Cayenne, Ginkgo Biloba and Pau d’Arco - Can be used alone or in combination to improve blood flow and strengthen blood vessels.

Hyssop - Aids circulation.

 

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