Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Raynauds

I have this disease called Raynauds.
I had it for many years, undiagnosed. Then one day I was sitting on the exam table with my feet dangling in the cold examination room of my podiatrist. My toes turned an ugly white (like they were always prone to do) and the rest of my feet were red. The podiatrist walked in, took one look at my feet, said "Oh My" and left the room. He returned with his entire staff to see my feet! Apparently it is rare for them to see this disease in action. Patients describe the ailment and the disease is diagnosed based on the description. So he wanted everyone to see what Raynauds actually looked like in real life. He then took my feet in his hands and warmed them through the purple, tingling, stage and then continued with working on the problem that brought me to his office originally. There are some medications that relieve the symptoms, but, unfortunately, none have worked for me.
Here is the Mayoclinic's description of Raynauds:

"Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such
as your fingers, toes, tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in
response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, arteries that
supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas. "

Raynaud's disease is more than simply having cold hands and cold feet, and it's not the same as frostbite. Signs and symptoms of Raynaud's depend on the frequency, duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder. Signs and symptoms include:

Sequence of color changes in your skin in response to cold or stress
Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or relief of stress."

Simply put, if I get cold, my fingers and toes get numb and I can't feel a thing. It is such a nuisance! Why am I blogging about this now? Well the cold weather is here and I have had nonstop Raynauds. It is difficult to type (try to imagine not being able to feel the keys when you hit them because your fingers are numb). It is difficult to eat, especially in restaurants. Restaurants are a year round problem. They typically keep the temperature low and if the temperatures drop to around 60, I am doomed. It is almost impossible to hold a spoon or fork or worse cut meat when fingers are numb. I have a pair of wool gloves that stay in my purse year round. I may look wacky when I pull them out in the middle of summer, but they usually do the trick. And walking? Well it becomes a nightmare. When the toes are numb, it is like walking on a brick of ice or something. It is very difficult to describe. I don't even try to wear dress shoes in the winter. They don't provide nearly enough protection. Socks and lace up shoes usually do the trick. I stay away from the insulated boots, though. They make me TOO hot.

This is a picture I got from the Mayoclinic to give you an idea of what the disease looks like - no, it is not my hands but it could be.

10 comments:

Intense Guy said...

:(

*Hugs da Punkn*

I've taken to wearing battery heated gloves when it gets cold - as the circulatory troubles due to diabetes leaves my hands (much more so then my feet) numb from cold - and the definition of cold keeps getting higher and higher on the thermometer - I think its about 55F now.. used to be about 40...

Hugs ya again - the pins and needles pain must be agony.

Tori_z said...

*hugs* :(

MarmiteToasty said...

Goodness...... you need warm gloves and woolley socks :(

I dread to think what parts go numb when blokes get this condition LOL

x

ChicagoLady said...

Interesting! I'd never heard of this disease. Has a doctor ever advised you to move someplace warmer, so the affects are less noticeable?

I don't think I'll ever complain about my cold hands and feet again. Did I mention they're both cold now? lol

Does this affect your embroidery work at all? I know the machine does all the actual work, but you have to get it set up and program it.

LadyStyx said...

*frownz*

*HUGZ*

Punkn said...

(((((Iggy))))) It is agony but it goes away. Seems we all have issues, some worse than others..

(((((Tori))))) you inspire me with your strength

(((((marmi)))) Goodness! I had never thought of that - leave it to you dear...

(((((chicago))))*plugs in an electric blanket and tucks it around yu* Hope you are feeling better.
They advise keeping the entire body warm - not just the extremities. Moving to a warm climate would not solve the problem because of air conditioning. The other issue is that stress can cause it too. When I had a high stress job before I retired, the fingers would go numb at the worst possible times lol. A couple of times I couldn't take notes because I couldn't hold the damn pencil. So far it has not hampered my embroidery business. I keep The Loft nice and toasty.

Jess said...

Poor you!
I'd never heard of this before - the picture is so odd. You don't notice the colour to begin and then it becomes obvious!
It must be really horrible - is it painful?
xx

Punkn said...

((((Jess)))) It is more annoying and hinders what I can do than it is painful. The only pain is the stinging when everything starts warming back up. Many are dealing with things so much worse, but it was bugging the devil out of me the day I posted this blog, so I blogged about it!

AliceKay said...

*sends punkn a hug from her new computer*

I'm pretty sure I have Raynauds, too, even though I've never talked to my doctor about it, or have been "officially" diagnosed with it. I've talked to a friend of mine online about what I was experiencing from time to time (when it's cold) and she sent me a link for Raynauds. I don't have it as severe as you do, tho.

The first time it happened to me was when I was out shoveling snow a few years ago and my feet got cold. Came inside, took off my boots and socks, and one toe was white...and it was numb. It scared me. It took a long time to warm it up. And then it got red. My toes get red and feel like they're on fire a lot. (just ask karla...she'll tell you how often i've told her that while talking to her on the phone)

A year or so ago, my fingers started to do it, too. One finger will get cold and white and feel numb. I showed Terri and he thought maybe I had frostbite, but it's not frostbite. It's a very odd sensation and something more to add to my growing list of medical "ailments". I've had really cold hands at work for the past month or so...ever since it has gotten cold here. This week has been brutal. It was so busy at work today that my fingers had a hard time keeping up with everything I had to do. (we "close" at noon but i didnt get to leave until 1:45)

*sends you another hug cuz i wanna*

Punkn said...

It definitely sounds like you have Raynauds AK - you described it to a T. Stress also causes it to act up and it sounds like you are under a lot of stress quite often.
huggsssss back and it is great to see you on your new computer!