Monday, July 2, 2012

Raynaud's Phenomenon

I wrote a blog last week about the terrible heat wave we are experiencing over most of the country.  I appreciate all the comments on the different websites that carry this blog.

One of the comments asked that I write something about the opposite effect which occurs in the cold temperatures.  So, here goes:

According to the Mayo Clinc website, “Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) is a condition resulting in a particular series of discolorations of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature (cold or hot) or emotional events. Skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissues. Initially, the digit(s) involved turn white because of the diminished blood supply. The digit(s) then turn blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen. Finally, the blood vessels reopen, causing a local "flushing" phenomenon, which turns the digit(s) red. This three-phase color sequence (white to blue to red), most often upon exposure to cold temperature, is characteristic of RP.

Raynaud's phenomenon most frequently affects women, especially in the second, third, or fourth decades of life. People can have Raynauds phenomenon alone or as a part of other rheumatic diseases. When it occurs alone, it is referred to as "Raynaud's disease" or primary Raynaud's phenomenon. When it accompanies other diseases, it is called secondary Raynaud's phenomenon.

Secondary Raynaud's," occurs secondary to a wide variety of other conditions. Secondary Raynaud's has a number of associations including MS.”

Most of us with Ms have both of these problems.  We get very overheated in the warm weather and over chilled in the cooler weather.  It takes me a long time to get chilled, but when I do, it seems to take forever to get warm again.  Our bodies just do not seem to be able to regulate themselves into a normal temperature range.

Because of these problems, many people with MS have opted to stay inside and not risk getting overheated or over chilled.  That is the best answer as far as being comfortable is concerned, but a horrible answer as far as depression is concerned.  So many times the easy answer is not the best answer.

One of my online MS buddies fits into this category.  He is young, good-looking, intelligent and has so much to offer.  Unfortunately, being young, his friends want to do this and that and he can no longer keep up.   He stays inside and is slowly becoming a hermit.  Those of us who are his friends try to stay in touch with him and see that he has some contact if only from the web.  Most of his friends do not understand and have pretty much abandoned him.  It is so sad.

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that most of the people I know, both friends and family, do not have a clue what we endure on a daily basis.  I am not talking about just pain or lack of mobility.  I am talking about the isolation and depression that most of us feel at some points in our lives.  Most of us do not “live there”, but visit this area from time to time.  Sometimes it is a hard place to stay away from.

Contrary to the above writings, I STILL would rather have cold weather than hot------hot weather hurts-------hot weather causes my brain to turn to mush-------and hot weather makes me sticky and yukky------Besides, there is always the hope that winter will bring snow and blanket the world in a beautiful, clean, new look!!!!


Karen said...

Yep, I hate hot and humid. Right now here (Canada) we have temps in the low 100's. I have MS, with heat intolerance and Raynaud's (from Lupus). I think the lesser of the two evil's for me is the latter!

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