Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that affects blood flow to the extremities and causes pain, numbness and tingling. Extreme temperatures in Winter or Summer (shifts in any Season) or severe stress can trigger it. Some sufferers can’t walk past the frozen food section in a grocery store without it causing painful tingling or numbness or spasms. Here’s what happens.
A sudden chill may cause blood vessels to spasm, shutting off circulation and turning affected parts a ghostly shade of white or blue. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, lips and the tongue are most commonly afflicted, and they may become painfully cold, tingling or numb.
Icy cold feet, hands, toes, fingers, less commonly nose and ears, sometimes with pain and numbness. Skin color changes of white/blue/red as peripheral blood flow is reduced by the spasmodic contraction of the muscles in the blood vessel walls (the digits are usually affected), tissues become starved of oxygen (cyanosis), and blood flow returns (rubor). Not all color changes may be present or in that order nor are color changes necessary to be diagnosed with Raynaud’s, but they may develop later.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon At A Glance
- Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by a pale to blue to red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to cold.
- Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs because of spasm of blood vessels.
- The cause of Raynaud’s phenomenon is unknown, although abnormal nerve control of blood-vessel diameter and nerve sensitivity to cold are suspected of being involved.
- Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the blood-vessel spasm.
- There is no blood test for diagnosing Raynaud’s phenomenon.
- Treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon involves protection of the digits, medications, and avoiding emotional stresses, smoking, cold temperature, and tools that vibrate the hands.
A new gel is being studied which might promote local production of nitric oxide in involved digits. The local nitric oxide, it seems, may open the blood vessels and improve the impaired circulation.
Until then, here are some great gadgets that may help.
HOT HANDS! Traditional winter gloves don’t work with touchscreens, forcing smartphone users to freeze their fingers when they answer their phones, post to Facebook or send a text or tweet. But Agloves®, America’s best winter touchscreen gloves and the ultimate fusion of fashion and technology, work with all touchscreen devices and they can be worn indoors or out if you suffer from Raynaud’s. Cost $23.99. Available online at agloves.com and at selected retailers, including Best Buy and Verizon Wireless.
A company called ValueRays, sells heated keyboard wrist pads, mouse pads, and other computer peripherals, all emitting USB infrared heat. They specialize in heated computer gadgets. These products are used by regular folks, as well as suffers of Raynauds, arthritis, carpal tunnel, and a host of other ailments.
Here’s a website with all the products.
TheFatcat ChargeCarddistributed by Mango International is just-under 2-x4-inch device, billed as the lightest, slimmest portable charger available, allows you to charge your gadgets on the go, especially helpful if you can’t find a power source, don’t have time to sit there while charging, or are in a country or outdoor setting where power is unavailable. The card weighs 2 ounces and is a quarter of an inch thick. It has a 2000 mAh lithium battery, twice the capacity of the typical cell phone battery, and comes outfitted with tips to fit a variety of popular cell phones, smartphones, iPods, GPS units, etc.
If you are usually working on the road, this is a product to consider purchasing. It’s sold online from $30 to $50. Of course you have to keep the charger charged, and you have to remember to bring it with you.
Wessel’s parents have the most amazing solution for cold feet of the literal kind — an electric “voetenwarmzak” — a “warm sack” for your feet.
Here’s a new Dutch modelonline, for $47.
FIR Raynaud’s Gloves, Hottest Product for Raynaud’s Symptom
The Far Infrared therapy Raynauds gloves have been proven in clinical trials to improve blood circulation and relieve pain associated with Raynaud’s disease, currently on sale at Far Infrared Clothing Market of firheals.com .
Heatbands are a brand new product, designed specifically for Raynaud’s sufferers to help keep the hands warm. They can be worn all day around the wrists and unlike heated gloves or many types of hand warmer, they work by preventing heat loss from the wrists, the most vulnerable area directly effecting the hands. Heatbands are attractive (available in a choice of 4 colours), convenient and unobtrusive and can be worn with your normal clothing and are inexpensive at £12.95 for a months supply (pack of 60).
Heatbands can help to keep your hands warm during any activity including: walking, shopping, running, cycling, tennis, golf, fishing, mountain biking, gardening, horse-riding, working on the computer, etc etc. For more information visit http://www.heatbands.com
Product Reviews & Discounts from THE RAYNAUD’S ASSOCIATION:
Every now and again we are able to arrange special offers for our members. Please feel free to take advantage of those we have available now!
Note: Product Reviews are the opinion of the reviewer based on personal experience and the input of our members. While the evaluation process is not clinically-based or scientific in nature, they are tested by real Raynaud’s sufferers for their benefit in real life situations. Products have not been tested nor regulated by the FDA.
- A gloves are lightweight, stretchy gloves knitted with silver nylon that helps to keep heat in and to even out the temperature across the palm and fingers. The silver content means these gloves are great for using touch screen devices, like smartphones, iPads, iPods and other mobile devices – without taking your gloves off and feeling the cold – amen!
- FootHugger Comfort Socks do a great job of keeping feet warm with a soft, cushiony, stretchy feel.
- The gloves keep you warm with Gerbing’s patented Microwire™ heating technology that is woven throughout to provide intense heat that surrounds the hand – including the thumb – with warmth all the way to the fingertips.
- Air-activated hand, toe, foot and body warmers… Grabber has the head-to-toe solution to keep you toasty and comfortable, no matter the temperature. Grabber Warmers give continuous heat to hands, toes and the entire body. Just open the package and expose warmers to the oxygen in the air for hours of relief. All Grabber Warmers are designed for one-time, disposable use.
- Born from recycled sweaters and lined with cushy new polar fleece, these are some of the warmest mittens you’ll ever love to wear! They are good for the environment, and great for Raynaud’s sufferers.
- Helios soaking salts are made from a unique Blend of Helios Essential Oils combined with the therapeutic benefits of Himalayan, Dead Sea and Epsom salts providing soothing relief for sore muscles, arthritis, body aches carpel tunnel and Raynaud’s.
- LegHuggers keep calves and shins toasty while making a cool fashion statement..
- ProNeema™ is a non-greasy skin cream originally designed for the special needs of diabetic patients to help heal and protect their skin, particularly their feet, which can become dangerously dry and prone to nerve damage and infection. But the ingredients in ProNeema also provide first aid and warmth for us Frosties.
- The inventor created these heated slippers for his mother who suffered from both Raynaud’s and peripheral neuropathy. The lightweight and fairly flat rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have a built-in thermostat control that automatically adjusts the temperature output for optimal comfort.
- WristHuggers are fingerless gloves with one large hole for fingers; separate hole for thumb.
- Wristies are fingerless gloves, glove liners, cuffs, and a fashion accessory — all in one!
- Members of the Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association have tried and tested a variety of heating aids and warm clothing which have proved to be helpful in keeping warm. It really is a matter of finding which is most suitable for your particular circumstances.To order from their online shop click here.
Mycoal Hand, Foot and Body Warmers
Once opened, the disposable heat packs are activated by gently shaking or squeezing and can then be placed within a fleece mitten, wrist warmer or in your pocket, glove or mitten. These heat packs warm within minutes and generate heat of 50-70ûC. Ideal for outdoor activities. The hand and foot warmers (the size of a tea bag), come in twin packs. The hand warmers stay hot for up to 7 hours, the foot warmers up to 5 hours and the larger body warmer for up to 20 hours. Mycoal foot, hand and body warmers cost £5.75 for 4 packs plus p & pThermogels – Reusable Hand Warmers
These hand warmers are activated by the press of a button. Flex the metal disc until the crystals form, the gel will then generate heat for up to 30 minutes. They are ideal when instant heat is required for a short period of time. To reactivate simply boil in a pan of water for 5-10 minutes. They can then be used many times. £4.50 pack of two plus p & p
The microwaveable Hot Pak is the perfect shape for treating almost every part of the body. The classic design is great value and suitable for all uses.
£10 plus p & p
Warmies Bottle (New Design)
This luxurious soft material contains treated millet seeds and soothing lavender. Simply heat in a microwave to provide hours of soothing warmth and comfort. It’s easier to use and much safer than a traditional hot water bottle as it completely removes the risk of scalding.
£12.95 each plus p & pSilver Gloves
These gloves could help to ward off Raynaud’s attacks and help keep your hands warm. They are made from a specialised medical product using a safe and natural pure silver providing medical benefits and natural healing which can help ease suffering and manage bacterial skin infections. Dry cracked hands can be treated by wearing cotton/silver fibre gloves.
£14 for 2 pairs of the same size plus p & p
Sizes – XS (Small) S-M (Medium) L-XL (Large)
All of us at some point in our daily lives and routines are forced to sit or stand frequent for long periods where leg movement, activity and exercise is restricted. These silver socks are suitable for both for prevention and therapy with increased circulation and warmth.
Silver is highly conductive and is able to take the electrical pulses of the leg nerves and convert this into a passive magnetic field which increase’s the blood circulation and regulate the skin temperature at 37º therefore keeping the feet warmer.This makes the silver socks extremely comfortable to wear and also helps to prevent that feeling of heavy legs due to the extra wellbeing effect produced by the natural silver fibre, swelling can be reduced and therefore thrombosis and cramped veins can help to be prevented.
The socks are made with pure silver fibre which is safe and natural, completely non-toxic and 100% free of all hazardous substances, there are no chemicals and pesticides. The medical and security effects described have been proven by many different International institutions across the world.
BEST4FEET Short & Long Socks with 9% Silver
The silver socks reflect 95% of the body’s energy back to the skin continually adjusting to a core of 37° temperature and will keep the feet warmer in the winter but cool and fresh in the summer.
Silver is also widely recognised as a safe and extremely effective broad-spectrum anti-microbial agent for skin infection control. This has been validated by prodigious institutions throughout the world and has been the focus of numerous medical abstracts published over many years. Silver provides unparalleled antibacterial performance eliminating 99.9% of bacteria in less than one hour of exposure.
Price Short socks £10 plus p & p
Price Long socks 9% silver £12.50 plus p & p
Sizes – Small (2-4) Medium (5-6.5) Large (7-9)
Short & Long Socks for Diabetics with 12% Silver
These contain silver pure fibre which helps connect the medical characteristics of natural silver and the clinical effect of passive magnetic therapy. Silver is highly conductive and is able to create a passive magnetic field. This can help to increase the blood circulation in the leg. Improved circulation will help reduce swelling, lowering the risk of thrombosis and cramped veins.
Price Short socks £10.50 plus p & p
Price Long socks 12% silver £13.50 plus p & p
Sizes – Medium (5-6.5) Large (7-9)
These are made from soft fleecy material with a built in pouch into which a hand warmer can be placed. The fleece mitts are fingerless enabling you to be free to type and write etc. without having anything bulky on your hands. They are very effective for keeping hands warm and are available in red, royal blue and black. Each pair comes complete with a pair of disposable hand warmers.
£5.00 per pair plus p & p
The following companies offer heated or warm items of clothing
Celtic Sheepskin – Warm sheepskin clothing and footwear
Cosy Feet – Shoes and slippers giving ‘ultra roomy fitting’, also available is the Circulation Booster.
EX02 – Suppliers of heated garments. To read reviews of EX02 products click here.
Footessentials – Provide a range of natural alternative products, which have many therapeutic, anti-bacterial and naturally effective properties to optimise health and wellbeing.
Pharma Nord – Bio-Biloba, a product containing Ginkgo biloba. A 10% discount is available to members of the RSA when quoting your membership number. Call: 0800 591756.
TDS Healthcare – Medical Healthcare products with natural silver fibre and soft cotton – a solution for cold body, hands and feet.
FAST FACTS ABOUT RAYNAUD’S: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Raynauds_Phenomenon/raynauds_ff.asp
- Ask Dr. K: Avoid cold to lessen Raynaud’s disease (goerie.com)