Symptoms of Reynaud's Disease
Reynaud's disease is characterised by episodes, or "attacks," that can vary in frequency and duration. Common symptoms include:
Colour changes: The affected fingers or toes may turn white (lack of blood flow), then blue or purple (lack of oxygen), and finally red (return of blood flow) during an attack.
Coldness and numbness: The digits may feel extremely cold and numb during an episode.
Tingling or pain: Some individuals may experience tingling or throbbing pain as blood flow returns.
Triggers: Attacks are often triggered by cold temperatures, emotional stress, or exposure to vibration (as in the case of using power tools).
Management and treatment
While there is no cure for Reynaud's disease, several management strategies can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of attacks:
Consult with an expert: An Accredited Hand Therapist is a physiotherapist or occupational therapist with expertise in the finger, hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Avoid cold exposure: Dress warmly in cold weather, wear insulated gloves and socks, and use hand and foot warmers to maintain warmth in extremities.
Stress management: Learn stress-reduction techniques such as relaxation exercises or meditation to minimise emotional triggers.
Medications: In severe cases or secondary Reynaud's, medications may help dilate blood vessels and improve circulation.
Biofeedback: Some individuals find biofeedback therapy helpful in learning to control their body's response to stress and cold.
Quit smoking: Smoking can exacerbate Reynaud's symptoms. Quitting smoking is recommended.
Living Well with Reynaud's Disease
Living well with Reynaud's disease involves adjusting your daily routine and being proactive about managing symptoms:
Stay informed: Educate yourself about Reynaud's disease, its triggers, and management techniques.
Stay warm: Dress in layers, especially in cold weather. Keep gloves, hand warmers, and extra clothing on hand.
Stay active: Regular physical activity can help improve circulation.
Avoid caffeine and certain medications: Caffeine and some medications can exacerbate symptoms. Discuss with your healthcare provider if you have concerns.
Regular follow-ups: Maintain regular follow-up appointments with your Accredited Hand Therapist to monitor your condition and discuss any changes in symptoms.
Find a local Accredited Hand Therapist
Patients can find a local Accredited Hand Therapist on our website using the link below.