Monday, February 27, 2012

Medical Mondays: Meet my left white toe!

Sheri Larsen (from Writers Ally) asked me a question recently about Raynaud's phenomenon. She's interested in having a character with this affliction.

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.

As a result, the finger or toe will turn sharply white, or blue.The attack can last up to 20 minutes, and often the sufferer will feel numbness, tingling or aching. In some severe cases, people can actually kill off their finger tips or get ulcers from the lack of 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:
  • Scleroderma*
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosis*
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome*
  • Buerger's Disease
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Vibration induced (Jackhammer's disease)
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Multiple Sclerosis.
*autoimmune diseases

Believe me, there are a lot more of these!

Treatment:
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.

Yay. 

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46 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Interesting disease which isn't as gross as the ones you featured lately. Sorry you have it but it sounds like you know how to treat it.

Em-Musing said...

Ouch! Sorry about your toe. I don't have that syndrome, but cold makes my body hurt. I'm even uncomfortable walking in the frozen food section. It's one of the reasons I moved to the tropics.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

All right, this makes me feel better about always having cold fingers. At least they don't turn paper white!

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

My husband is always complaining I have cold fingers and toes, but thank goodness it's never this bad!

Miranda Hardy said...

That is one thing I never want to experience. Yikes!

SA Larsenッ said...

Thanks for highlighting this! :D Have a great day!!

Connie Keller said...

My mom has Raynauds. Hers is the result of post polio syndrome. She has to be oh, so careful--she's had skin turn black before-very bad. She has battery operated socks that keep her toes warm and gloves with chemical inserts that keep her hands warm.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oooh, a yikes.
I have a friend who has Raynaud's disease--she is terribly cold sensitive.

Old Kitty said...

The lovely late mum of my ex used to suffer quite badly with this condition - and yes her fingers would go ridiculously white - poor woman!!

Take care
x

Karen Lange said...

Never heard of this, but now I know! Thanks for sharing your expertise, Lydia!

Anne Gallagher said...

I've had my fingers go white from shoveling snow but not quite like that. Sometimes now they turn extremely light pink and I know it's time to warm them up.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Strange stuff. I've had my digits go cold, but never turn white. Another great post, Lydia. =o)

Jax said...

I think I have this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Omg, this hypcondriac in my is freaking out again. Does this mean that I can lose my fingers or toes? Does this mean that I have one of the above mentioned causes?!?!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I get this in my fingers. It's a royal pain when I want to type. :(

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Keep those toes warm then!

Ciara said...

I have a cure, Lydia. Move to Florida. :)

Meredith said...

I would freak out! Thank goodness the winters here don't get too cold. :)

Emy Shin said...

I had searched this up a few months ago, due to the possibility of having an autoimmune disease that might cause Secondary Raynaud's. Very interesting! :)

Clarissa Draper said...

I think it would scare me to death if that happened. I'm glad I don't suffer from it. Would be interesting for a character to suffer from it however.

LTM said...

omg, you are kidding me! I have never heard of this. And you've got it in one of your toes? ... *snort* I'm sorry! LOL!!! :D

Poor little toe. Get that toe to the Bahamas, stat! (and take me!) <3

Barbara Watson said...

Oh. My. Gosh! I get this in my fingers, usually my index fingers! I didn't know it was a 'thing' and simply attributed the whitening, tingling, and numbness to my poor circulation. So interesting.

Tamara Narayan said...

Hmmm, my feet have been going numb lately. Maybe I should shuck the socks and check to see if the toes are more ghostly white than usual. Or I could just stop sitting on a hard chair for hours on end which is probably cutting off my circulation where my thighs hit the edge of the chair. Time to move!

lbdiamond said...

What a striking photo!

Great post!

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Whoa, this is something I was definitely unfamiliar with. I thought it looked like vitiligo at first.

Krispy said...

This is so weird, but at least it isn't gross. :) Hello, left toe!

Emily Rose said...

Wow this is wild!

Carrie Butler said...

If you ever teach a writer's workshop on medical conditions, I am so there. Great post! :)

Deb Salisbury said...

Shudder! You need to move south. I suspect living in Texas could prevent Raynaud's. ;-)

Jay Noel said...

That's so weird. I've read about Raynaud's Disease elsewhere. But I thought it had something to do with the thyroid.

Linda Gray said...

Bodies! They really are out to get us. I hope you have a special left-foot-second-toe warmer handy at all times during the winter!

Nancy said...

that would be disturbing to see your fingers or any part turning stark white like that.

Alleged Author said...

Whoa. That is so creepy! I thought the only thing that could make fingers/toes scary looking was frost bite. Now I have something else to be freaked out about! :P

A Lady's Life said...

Boy . There are so many things in this world to pay attention to.
I should be dead by now lol

Kelly Polark said...

Wow! I always learn something new and interesting here.
You better wear extra socks, Lydia!

Carol Kilgore said...

The Old White Toe Trick, eh? Lol!

Coleen Patrick said...

I've heard and read about Raynaud's but I never knew the skin could turn that white! Wow.

julie fedderson said...

You're really asking for the foot fetish guy to come back, what with flaunting tales of your virginal white toe.

Arlee Bird said...

That sounds pretty strange.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
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Blogging from A to Z

Stephen Tremp said...

I never gave much thought to my toes. Now I'm kinda scared. Think I;ll give them some TLC before going to bed tonight.

Sarah Pearson said...

Ouch! I'll try not to complain again about having cold hands and feet. it could very definitely be worse.

Jai Joshi said...

I know someone with the condition although she's not as bad off as the sufferers in these pictures. She bought a hot tub so that she could take hot rejuvenating baths.

Yikes, Lydia, you have it in your left toe? Make sure you wear thermal socks!

Jai

Jen Chandler said...

This is very interesting. I've never heard of it before but I can see where it could be an interesting disease for a character to have.

Thanks for the write up!

Cheers,
Jen

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Sorry about your toe...I have Morton's foot. UGH...

I didn't realize until last week how close we were to each other. I think we are only 4 hours apart. The next time my hubby has a meeting in Omaha, I'll try and ride with him. :)

vbtremper said...

I have Raynaud's and it's a big pain...in the foot. I also get migraines and my current migraine meds exacerbate the Raynaud's. I wear wool socks and slippers all winter and have begun refusing to take my shoes or boots off when I go to other people's houses (or I bring my slippers). And I often wear fingerless mitts at home, too. It's very uncomfortable, but hard to describe. Funny - I've given characters migraines but never thought to give one Raynaud's.

-Vicki

Meredith Simpson said...

I just happened to stumble across your blog...I have the same toe issue! The second toe on my left foot does the same thing! It turns gray-white and is stiff as a board. I always thought it was because I had frostbite in that toe when I was younger. I'm not alone, yay!

evelynaw said...

Oh my goodness, I stumbled on your toe picture by accident and actually laughed out loud. My toes are fine, but my fingers turn white on the commute to and from work, regardless of how warm my mittens are and how high the heat is on. I like to freak out people at the office by waving my "dead fingers" at them before finding some warm water.

 
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