Friday, December 09, 2005

Raynaud's Phenomenon

My 17 year-old daughter was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Phenomenon. She experiences pain doing even the simplest things. We live in Michigan and with the freezing weather we get here, I’m concerned about my daughter. I’m searching for treatment options. To address your concerns fully, let’s expound on what Raynaud’s phenomenon is. Raynaud’s phenomenon is basically defined as a severe sensitivity to cold and it affects nearly 10 percent of the population. Raynaud’s phenomenon has a variation of causes, but it can also strike people without warning or symptoms. For someone with Raynaud’s phenomenon, cold weather can mean excruciating bouts with pain. Exposure to freezing temperatures can bring stinging and numbness to the extremities, especially the hands and feet, making simple tasks such as opening doors or taking out the garbage a battle with pain. Winters can be excessively dreary for someone with Raynaud’s phenomenon, especially for someone living in places where it snows because they could miss out on all the fun that skiing, snowboarding, and snowball fights bring. So how can she beat the pain? There are several ways: Stay Warm This is the obvious solution, of course. Nonetheless, it is very important. Medical studies have shown that body temperatures of people with Raynaud’s phenomenon drop faster than other people. As well, it takes them longer to warm up. Therefore, it’s very important that your daughter protect herself from the cold at all times. Be sure she is properly insulated from cold temperatures outside and inside. It’s imperative to remember to protect the extremities; be sure she wears a hat, gloves, socks, boots, etc. Limit Caffeine Intake Caffeine affects the circulatory system and can render negative effects for someone with Raynaud’s phenomenon. Your daughter may not be a big coffee drinker, but it would be advisable to monitor her intake of sodas, chocolates, and teas. Don’t Smoke If you or your daughter smoke, this can be very harmful to her. Breathing cigarette smoke will constrict her blood vessels and take necessary oxygen from her body, worsening the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Ginkgo Biloba Ginkgo Biloba is an herb that has been used for eons to improve circulation in the extremities. It may help your daughter’s blood vessels stay open which will improve her blood flow to her fingers and toes. Reduce Stress Stress can actually make Raynaud’s phenomenon worse, even when your daughter isn’t cold. Seek stress reduction strategies that will help her relax. TENS Therapy TENS therapy is useful for virtually anyone experiencing pain. TENS is the acronym for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS Units work by sending electrical impulses to certain parts of the body that block pain signals to the brain as well as activating the release of endorphins and encephalins, the body’s natural analgesics. TENS therapy is non-addictive and doesn’t provide dangerous side-effects that are so common with medications and prescribed narcotic pain-killers. For more information on TENS Units, read this information page. Hope it helps.

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