Raynaudís and Arthritis

Monday, 28 September 2015  |  John

Raynaud’s Disease (also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, Raynaud’s syndrome or simply Raynaud’s) is a condition which causes the blood vessels in extremities, most commonly in fingers and toes, to contract, reducing blood supply to the affected areas. Alongside primary Raynaud’s, where the condition is caused by itself there is secondary Raynaud’s, which is where the condition is caused by an underlying condition.

How Can Arthritis Cause Raynaud’s Disease?

The majority of secondary Raynaud’s disease cases are caused by autoimmune conditions. These are conditions which cause the body’s immune system, which usually protects against disease and infection, to attack healthy tissue and cells. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is known to be associated with Raynaud’s Disease, alongside other autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma and lupus.

Which Comes First?

Either the Raynaud’s disease or the arthritis can come first. It is most common that the underlying arthritis is already present, and the Raynaud’s disease comes about as a complication. However, Raynaud’s can present as a lone symptom of arthritis and other symptoms can develop weeks or months later.

How To Tell If Arthritis and Raynaud’s Are Connected?

The best way to tell if Raynaud’s is connected to arthritis is to visit a doctor and have them check it out. They are best positioned to give the best advice on Raynaud’s. There are some visible differences between primary and secondary Raynaud’s disease.

One difference is that with secondary Raynaud’s, the symptoms can only affect one or two fingers or toes at the beginning, whereas with primary Raynaud’s all fingers are typically affected from the start. 

Another difference between primary and secondary Raynaud’s is that with secondary Raynaud’s the onset can be much more sudden and develop much quicker than primary Raynaud’s.

Age can also be an indicator; while anyone can develop primary Raynaud’s, secondary Raynaud’s from arthritis is more likely to develop in people over 30 because arthritis is most common in older people.

Complications of Raynaud’s and Arthritis

Although it is rare, there are some complications of secondary Raynaud’s which can develop with extreme cases. This can include ulcers and scarring developing on fingers and toes. In the most severe cases of secondary Raynaud’s, the tissue in the affected area can start to die (gangarene).

Protecting against Raynaud’s

While Raynaud’s is not a guaranteed problem for people with arthritis, it does not come as a shock to doctors if it develops. For those of you who do have it, the best way to defend against an attack of Raynaud’s is to keep yourself warm. 

There are several products available on the market to help do this, from specially-designed silver gloves and socks to keep your extremities warmer for longer, to pocket hand warmers to heat your hands up wherever you are.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of these, and more, then head over to RaynaudsDisease.com and check out our range of hand and feet-friendly products!

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