Raynaud's Disease

Raynaud's disease is characterized by constrictive spasms of the smaller vascular system arterioles (small arteries). It most commonly affects the fingers and, at times, can also affect the nose, tongue, and feet. Typically, the initial symptoms of Raynaud's disease are triggered by exposure to cold or because of chronic emotional stress. The affected areas become white or bluish, are usually accompanied by tingling sensation. At times, the affected areas can also take on a reddish hue and, in rare cases, the walls of the arteries can thicken, permanently obstructing blood flow, causing ulcers, infections, and even gangrene (death of tissue) to form around the fingernails.

What To Consider

Nutritional deficiencies can cause Raynaud's disease because a lack of nutrients can result in intolerance to cold and impaired circulation. Smoking is another common cause is smoking, as are certain drugs, such as the beta blockers used in blood pressure treatment as well as ergotamine used in migraine treatment, both of which may trigger Raynaud's symptoms.

Note
When Raynaud's symptoms develop without any known cause, it is labeled Raynaud's disease. When these same symptoms occur as a result of other health problems, this is then called Raynaud's phenomenon and is usually more serious.

Self-Care Tips

Lifestyle
One of the keys to treating and preventing Raynaud's disease is to increase circulation. Breathe deeply throughout the day and keep your hands and feet as warm as possible. Also be sure to get plenty of regular exercise. Rapid arm movement exercise can force blood through the tiny capillaries. Stand with arms at your side and swing them strongly like a windmill, forward and up as high as you can and as fast as you can to relieve symptoms. This often relieves hand symptoms in a minute or two. And, if you smoke, stop.

Diet
Eat plenty of organic foods high in vitamin E, such as raw seeds and nuts. Hot vegetable soups, vegetable purees, and fresh, organic vegetables are also. Avoid coffee and alcohol, both of which constrict blood vessels.

Nutritional Supplementation
The following nutrients are advised
vitamin B complex, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, essential fatty acids (EFAs), evening primrose oil, and digestive enzymes with meals. If you are anemic, also take iron.

Herbs
Combine equal parts of the tinctures of ginkgo, prickly ash, and ginger and take 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture three times a day.

Homeopathy
Arsen alb., and Secale are useful homeopathic remedies.

Hydrotherapy
Place two bowls with warm water in different locations - one in a warm room and one in a cold room or, outside in the cold. Immerse your hands in the warm water indoors for 2-5 minutes, then go to the next location and immerse your hands in the cold water for 7-10 minutes Then return to the warm room and repeat the first immersion. Do this four to six times a day.

Juice Therapy
Drink plenty of fresh squeezed, organic fruit and vegetable juices.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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