source : www.dailymail.co.uk
By Emily Joshu Health reporter for Dailymail.Com
12:00 November 5, 2023, updated 12:07 November 5, 2023
- Researchers are getting closer to figuring out what causes Raynaud’s disease
- Bundling up, running your hands under warm water and staying dry can help
- READ MORE: Finally a cure for chronic cold hands? Study finds cause of Raynaud’s
Last month, science moved one step closer to figuring out what causes a chronic condition of cold hands that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
The study found that changes in two genes were responsible for Raynaud’s syndrome, a chronic condition that makes it difficult for blood supply to reach the fingers and toes.
In the meantime, health care experts recommend a range of quick remedies that can provide at least some relief when the condition’s infamous symptoms — icy hands and feet — strike.
Run warm water over your hands and feet
When Raynaud’s attack strikes, warm water can relax muscles and improve circulation.
This is because warm water is a vasodilator, meaning it dilates blood vessels, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) warns against using hot water because it can burn the skin or numb your extremities, making it difficult to feel any relief.
Run your hands under a warm tap and then put on some extra layers of clothing to try to retain the heat.
Swing your arms in circles across the body
The National Institutes for Health also recommends waving your arms in a windmill pattern to improve blood flow to the arms and hands.
This can be done while standing or taking a walk.
Likewise, the Mayo Clinic also suggests wiggling your fingers and toes or placing your hands under your armpits, which are naturally warm and help keep body heat close to you.
At the first sign of a Raynaud’s attack, grab mittens or a pair of wool socks to quickly warm your body.
Alberta Health Services in Canada suggests choosing mittens over gloves because mittens keep the fingers together, which helps increase body heat.
However, try fingerless gloves indoors so you can still type or perform other tasks that require the use of your hands.
There are several fingerless gloves on Amazon and other retailers that are designed for offices — so if you don’t mind a few fun looks, these could be your best bet.
And while it may sound counterintuitive, experts recommend avoiding tight clothing, which can restrict blood flow.
Stay away from the air conditioner
The Mayo Clinic advises patients with Raynaud’s disease to avoid rapidly changing temperatures, such as moving quickly from a hot to a cold location. This could be diving into the produce aisle of a supermarket on a hot summer day.
If you must step into the air conditioning, wear warm clothes to prevent your body temperature from changing too quickly.
The American College of Rheumatology also suggests not running AC settings too high during the summer.
Go for a walk
Weather permitting, a short walk outside can provide some warmth for cold hands and feet.
This is because walking increases the heart rate. As your heart rate increases, the blood vessels expand.
This in turn improves circulation and allows more oxygen to flow through your hands and feet.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
Raynaud’s condition, caused by drops in temperature or an increase in stress, causes the blood vessels in the fingers and toes to constrict, cutting off the blood supply.
It can also affect the small arteries in the nose, ears and tongue.
Typically, Raynaud’s disease causes the fingers or toes to become white and numb.
When blood flow returns, they turn blue and eventually red, accompanied by a burning sensation. Attacks can last from several minutes to an hour.
Nine out of ten cases occur in women, with most patients having their first attack before the age of 40.
Although attacks peak in the cold winter months, symptoms can be triggered by everyday tasks such as taking food out of the freezer, air conditioning or even stress – all of which cause blood vessels to constrict.
Most patients can cope by dressing warmly, although some develop painful crying sores, which can become infected.
Although Raynaud’s disease is common, only a small number of patients develop a more serious connective tissue disease called scleroderma.
It can cause disability and can be life-threatening. That is why it is important to diagnose it early so that any complications of the condition can be properly treated.
Raynaud’s disease has a simple treatment and can be temporarily cured with a drug called nifedipine, which relaxes the muscles of your heart and blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
source : www.dailymail.co.uk