Raynaud’s disease is a rare condition causing parts of the body to change colors and experience pain and numbness in cold temperatures or under extreme stress.
What occurs in those suffering from Raynaud’s is actually a spasm, or narrowing, of the blood vessels in reaction to the cold, limiting circulation to affected areas. Raynaud’s usually affects the fingers and toes, but the nose, lips, and ears can be affected also.
Raynaud’s tends to appear in girls more so than boys. There are two different types of this disease found in children:
- Primary Raynaud’s: This type is more common and has less severe symptoms. Affected areas and tissues, usually return to normal shortly after the spasms stop.
- Secondary Raynaud’s: This form is also sometimes referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon. Symptoms are typically more severe and there is often an underlying systemic autoimmune condition associated with it. Affected areas have a hard time recovering following a spasm and tissues can become permanently damaged from the reduction in blood flow.
Raynaud’s Disease Causes & Symptoms
The cause of primary Raynaud’s is often unknown in children.
With secondary Raynaud’s, there are some factors that might contribute to this form of the disease:
- A family history of Raynaud’s
- Another autoimmune condition, such as vasculitis (where blood vessels become damaged due to inflammation)
- A negative reaction to some drugs or medications
- Trauma or injury to affected areas such as fingers and toes that prohibits blood vessels from working properly
Symptoms that are common to both forms of Raynaud’s include:
- Cold fingers, toes, nose, ears, or lips
- Color changes in skin – appearing white, blue, purple, or red – in response to cold or stress
- Numbness or painful stinging sensation in affected areas
Raynaud’s is typically diagnosed by a pediatric rheumatologist following extensive bloodwork that will test for certain antibodies and other autoimmune deficiencies. CT scans may also be ordered to view blood vessels and capillaries and to more closely examine the areas troubling your child.
Raynaud’s Disease Treatment in Austin & Cedar Park, TX
For both forms of Raynaud’s, always covering up with warm, protective layers of clothing in cooler environments can help. This is usually enough treatment for children suffering from primary Renaud’s.
With secondary Renaud’s, it is often necessary to treat any underlying autoimmune deficiencies first that may be leading to blood vessel spasming. In severe cases, prescription medications are available to help keep blood vessels open, encouraging blood flow and avoiding any potential tissue damage.