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Raynaud's Disease

A disease of the circulatory support structure and affecting the arterial system, this condition disturbs and affects the minute network of arteries-also called arterioles, which are the pathways active in the distribution of blood to the skin covering the digits like the fingers and the toes, and other extremities like the nose and the ears, it was identified in 1862 by a French physician Maurice Raynaud after whom it is named. Spasmodic contraction of the blood vessels in these areas is seen in some people when they are exposed to cold environments, this leads to a reduction in the flow of blood to the region leading eventually to oxygen deprivation in these areas. The affected region may tingle or go numb as blood supply is lost or at very low levels, the skin also changes tone or color due to this scarcity of blood. However, the condition has no connection with more severe forms of circulatory distress in most cases, even if at times the discomfort and the symptoms can be acutely distressing and irritating to the patient, other severe forms of circulatory illnesses are not present with Raynaud's disease. The condition is often an independent disorder.

The underlying reasons for the incidence of Raynaud's disease has not been found and its origin is still a mystery. The nerves in the affected region may possibly have some role to play in the origin of the condition, as several researchers have pointed out that the blood vessels in patients with Raynaud's have some adverse reaction to cold conditions, these reaction could lead to a disturbance or instability in the nerves supplying the affected parts and possibly bring on the symptoms of the disease. The disease seems to affect women much more so than men as a demographic population. Conditions such as the occurrence of migraine and severe headaches, the presence of rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders like lupus, arterial disease like arteriosclerosis, or even the presence of an under active thyroid may all exist alongside Raynaud's disease in a person, even though the disease can affect a person by itself without other underlying causes or disorders. The proper term is Raynaud's phenomenon and this term is used when the dieses sets in a person because of the presence of some other underlying causative factors. Symptoms of the disease are induced immediately and can persist for minutes and even hours, such symptoms are triggered when the person undertakes simple actions like walking outside in the outdoors in cold weather or during winter, they also occur during the minor act of taking something out from a refrigerator, or even when the person stays for a moment in an air-conditioned room. Another causative factor for the sudden appearance of the symptoms is stress. Various heart and migraine problems and the action of certain decongestive medications can all cause Raynaud's symptoms as a side effect of chemical action in the body.

Supplements and herbs

Prolonged and regular use of the given supplements is suggested, as the disease is often chronic in nature and effect, all the supplements can aid in the fight against the worst symptoms of Raynaud's disease. Arterial blood flow and circulation is improved by supplementing with the vitamin E. The cardiovascular system is also effectively bolstered by the mineral magnesium, aside from its many beneficial effects. Magnesium is essential in people with Raynaud's as a supplement because of its useful property of dilating blood vessels and improving blood flow. Supplementing with the compound known as inositol hexaniacinate may also be additionally considered in the patients, this compound is a form of the B vitamin niacin and has properties of improving the circulation of blood to the extremities of the body and can have many positive effects on a person. The dilation of small blood vessels can also be achieved through supplements of the wonder herb called ginkgo biloba; this ability to improve blood flow in minute vessels can be very beneficial to the patient. The symptoms due to Raynaud's disease also showed vast improvements, when the oil of the evening primrose herb was used as a topical treatment massaged into the fingertips and other affected parts of the body, the oil is very rich in the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) so the research reports. Other supplements may be combined with the oil or alternately the oil can be used as a single treatment option against the disease. Another good source of GLA is the oil of the borage herb, and since this oil is cheaper on the whole than the oil of evening primrose, it can be substituted as a topical massage oil for patients with Raynaud's disease.

Supplements of fish oil can be used if the symptoms show no signs of abatement after the use of the treatments given above. This is suggested because fish oil can stall the appearance of symptoms in patients with Raynaud's disease by a crucial fifteen minutes so it is reported by a research done using a combination of placebos and true fish oils on a group of 32 patients, this study was a controlled and monitored double blind research, and it shows some possible benefits and suggest the role fish oils can play in treatments against Raynaud's disease.

Homeopathy

The discomfort due to the symptoms can be relieved in large measures through the use of many kinds of homeopathic remedies and treatments. It is advisable to consult with a professional homeopath and aim for the total reduction in symptoms through a holistic and constitutional remedy that uses a treatment regimen having a broad focus across the body while healing the disease.

  • Arsenicum
    Arsenicum is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of affected individuals where the symptoms may include an icy coldness around the tips of the extremities on the body, accompanied by a burning sensation and the patient may only find soothing relief from the symptom on the application of heat or hot compresses along the affected area. Other physical signs include swellings and itchy sensations in the fingers of the affected person. Psychological symptoms include the need to be a perfectionist in all activities, other emotional traits such as restlessness and an acute anxiety may be present, and the person also tends to feel the cold greater than other unaffected individuals. The presence of any of these symptoms in the person requires the utilization of Arsenicum as a homeopathic remedy.
  • Carbo veg.
    Carbo veg. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals with Raynaud's disease who show paleness of complexion along with low temperatures in the region of the extremities, such as the toes and the fingers, the person may additionally feel very weak and faint, symptoms such as indigestion may also set in on internally and the person will enjoy and desire fresh air in the outdoors. Other physical signs include cramping sensations in the fingertips and the toes; these areas may also turn red in color, which is a reaction to some circulation problems in the area. The presence of any of these symptoms requires the immediate use of Carbo veg. as a homeopathic remedy in the affected individual.
  • Chelidonium
    Chelidonium is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals affected by Raynaud's disease where the region of the shoulders experiences the presence of pain and a tightening or tautness of the muscles in the region, the neck is similarly affected, in particular the right side of the neck. All the physical symptoms tend to affect the right side of the body and in various regions, including the occurrence of headaches is more on the right side of the head, the person may also complain of liver problems and suffer from indigestion. The presence of any of these symptoms in the individual requires the utilization of Chelidonium as a homeopathic remedy against Raynaud's disease.
  • Hepar sulf.
    Hepar sulf. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of affected persons, who display a high sensitivity to drafts and cold weather or air, the person may prefer warmth even when staying indoors and is given to wearing gloves and is always warmly dressed at all times of the day and night, this warmth may stall the onset of discomfort and other symptom induced affects in the body. Psychologically the afflicted person is touchy and shows undue propensity to irritation and is crabby, emotional insecurity is also another symptom. The presence of one or more of these symptoms requires the utilization of Hepar sulf. as a homeopathic remedy in such individuals.
  • Sepia
    Sepia is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from Raynaud's disease with symptoms such as cold sensations in the extremities persisting as a symptom at most times of the day and night causing great discomfort, the patient may additionally display signs of chronic weariness and irritability. Due to the symptoms the tone and elasticity of the muscular tissue may be impaired which also includes the muscles in the blood vessels and hence the circulatory system in such a person is impaired to a great extent as a further symptom. Additional disorders such as a chronic constipation or impairment of the pelvic area can occur, the region of the pelvis typically weakening or sagging as a result. The condition of the patient is improved on the whole when he undertakes regular and consistent exercises and physically exerts himself or herself, other symptoms include a lessening of the energy levels and mood disorders due to the various symptoms. The presence of any or all of these symptoms requires the utilization of Sepia as a homeopathic remedy.
  • Veratrum alb.
    Veratrum alb. is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted with Raynaud's disease where the symptoms include a rapid change in skin tone and paleness in the complexion, the extremities and the body in general is icy cold to the touch, the skin may even turn blue at times, other symptoms include cramps at the tips of the extremities and other affected areas of the body. Disorders like diarrhea and vomiting may come on, in women there are problems with the menstrual periods and these disorders can weaken the person and bring on chills in the body. The presence of one or any of these symptoms signals the need to use Veratrum alb. as a homeopathic remedy.

Additional things you may do

Due to their ability to constrict the blood vessels, it is advised that you avoid the use of nicotine laced products and substances like caffeine, when suffering from symptoms. Try out many relaxation methods to beat stress and use techniques such as biofeedback to keep tension at bay. Injury to the affected regions can greatly complicate matters and one must take steps to prevent all sorts of injuries from occurring. Utilize mittens and other warm clothing to maintain warmth in the fingers, mittens are better than gloves in keeping a steady warm temperature in the fingers, choose heavy woolen socks during outings in the winter to maintain warmth in the toes. When using the freezer or the supermarket frozen food section, utilize gloves as a further precautionary measure. Consult with a medical professional on possible side effects of all medications that you use and please avoid the use of decongestants as the chemicals present in such drugs can cause the appearance of symptoms and aggravate them if they are already present.

Usual dosage

  • Evening primrose oil, one or two capsules; should be applied topically, everyday. Evening primrose oil can be replaced with oil of borage.
  • Ginkgo biloba, 40 mg thrice daily.
  • Vitamin E, 400 IU daily. If you take anticoagulant medications, check with your doctor.
  • Inositol hexaniacinate, 500 mg thrice daily.
  • Magnesium, 400 mg two times daily. If diarrhea develops, reduce the dose.
  • Fish oils, 1,000 mg thrice daily. Do not exceed 2,000mg of fish oil daily if you suffer from diabetes.

Other beneficial herbs

Comments

From Vwl - Mar-01-2011
I have had Raynaud's for 8 years and fish oil is the only thing I have found to work - 2000mg a day over 6 months and I rarely have a flair up, and if I do it is easy to correct (ginger tea is great for that). Before I started using fish oil, I would have painful numbing in my toes that would last for hours. It has also helped improve my skin and hair, not bad.
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