About renauds syndrome
Renauds syndrome is an arthritis related condition that presents itself when the blood vessels constrict. It mainly affects the fingers, toes, lips, nose and ear lobes. It causes discoloration of the finger sand toes when they are exposed to cold and when a person is emotionally stressed. The discoloration is as a result of reduced blood supply to the local tissues that is caused by an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels. The area involved turns white due to the reduced supply of blood and then turns blue due to the prolonged lack of oxygen. Renauds syndrome mainly affects women in their third and forth decades of life.
Causes of renauds diseases
The common causes of renauds diseases are;
- artery diseases that result from smoking
- use of drugs that cause the narrowing of arteries
- autoimmune conditions and arthritis
- frequent injury that results from vibrations that may be caused by playing the piano or typing.
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- regular smoking
Symptoms of renauds
The symptoms of renaud depend on the severity, duration and frequency of the disease. In case if mild renauds, the skin will discolor when exposed to cold temperature, there may be mild tingling and numbness of the affected area that tends to disappear when the color is back to normal. Lack of oxygen in the nerves causes pain and sometimes ulceration of the affected area. These ulcers are prone to many infections and thus have to be treated urgently. The continuous lack of oxygen can result to gangrene. If areas like the nose or ears are affected by the renauds, they develop sensations of numbness and pain but do not develop ulcers.
Treatment of renauds syndrome
Treatment of renauds disease depends on the cause of the symptoms present. The following are the medications that are administered to treat different symptoms of the renauds disease.
To widen and promote blood circulation
- calcium channel blockers: these drugs are given to relax and open up the small blood vessels that are found in the feet and hands. They tend to reduce the severity and frequency of the attacks caused by renauds disease.
- Vasodilators: this is a drug that relaxes the blood vessels and helps in the healing of skin ulcers. These drugs also relieve other symptoms that are caused by the renauds disease.
- Alpha blockers: this drug counterattacks the norepinephrine a hormone that tightens the blood vessels.
Surgery and other medical procedures
- nerve surgery: the nerves control the opening and the narrowing of the blood vessels in the skin. In cases of severe renauds, the nerves are cut in order to interrupt their exaggerated response through incision in the affected area the doctor strips away this nerves that are around the blood vessels. This surgery reduces the duration and frequency of the attacks.
- Amputation: the tissues that are damaged due to the lack of enough blood supply are removed. This is done through amputating the affected finger or toe.
- Chemical injections: chemicals are injected to block the nerves in the affected area. This procedure is repeated if the symptoms reappear.