Have you heard of Raynaud's?
Raynaud's phenomenon occurs when certain body parts, such as the fingers and toes, are exposed to cold. (Stress can sometimes be a trigger too). The artery in that body part will constrict abnormally (vasospasm), cutting off the blood flow.
Once the affected digit is rewarmed, it often turns reddish in color as the blood flow returns.
When there is no obvious cause to Raynauds, it's called Primary Raynaud's disease.
When there is another disease causing it, it is called Secondary Raynaud's phenomenon.
Here are some common causes:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosis*
- Rheumatoid Arthritis*
- Sjogren's Syndrome*
- Buerger's Disease
- Vibration induced (Jackhammer's disease)
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Multiple Sclerosis.
Believe me, there are a lot more of these!
Immediate rewarming is the first treatment. There are several types of medication that can be used as to prevent the episodes, such as calcium channel blockers or other vasodilators to keep the arteries from constricting. Other methods, such as using prostaglandins or blocking the nerves that lead to vasospasm, can also be used in severe cases.
I'm pretty sure I have primary Raynaud's affecting my left second toe. It's become a Nebraskan thermometer. As soon as it hits about 10 degrees, my toe tell me by going paper-white.