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Raynauds vs. frostbite vs... ??

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  • Raynauds vs. frostbite vs... ??

    And how do you know?

    Are there ANY treatments for Raynauds or Raynauds like symptoms? (besides not getting cold. )

    Barn chores are just torture some days.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

  • #2
    My sister and mom both have Reynaud's.

    There hands and sometimes their face around their mouth will get very white and almost splotchy. My sister had a test when she was younger to confirm the diagnosis and was subsequently put on some medication to improve her circulation-- no idea what the med was or the real function of it.

    I'd say detecting the difference between it and frostbite would be frequency... my sister used to have an episode almost daily in winter. I don't know how frostbite presents but the Reynaud's looks like an absence of blood in the hands.

    Both my mom and sister have Rheumatoid factor.

    Worth discussing with your doc, as it can be an indicator of a larger issue.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


    • #3
      A doctor will diagnose it. Pay attention to whether it's *only* your hands that are affected, or your face, toes, etc as well. Frostbite affects exposed skin, so if you're experiencing symptoms despite never taking your gloves etc off, that's significant.

      Some of the medications that address it also lower your blood pressure - so keep that in mind if you try that route. I've had luck with some super-thermal waterproof bomber mittens that were given to me by a friend because they made her hands sweat. They don't keep me warm, per se, but they keep my hands from turning white/splotchy and they keep them from getting *cold*, if you know what I mean.


      • #4
        similar problem

        I'm from the South (now living in NY). When I first moved up North (to PA working with a racing stable), I believe I suffered from slight frostbite my first winter. It appeared in the form of chillblain on my outer thighs. What began as small red itchy spots developed into sores that scabbed over before healing. I didn't know what it was at the time. During the same winter, although I don't think they got frostbitten - I found that my hands would go numb and then come back to life with a painful, screaming-tingling and then they'd be very sensitive after that. Sometimes I could barely hold the reins or unbuckle my girth without wanting to cry. I wondered why everyone else wasn't having the same problem..?!
        Years later as I described how my fingers go numb and turn white or yellow when the temperature drops, a friend told me about Raynaud's Syndrome. The symptoms sounded like mine.
        I recently asked my doctor about it and he perscribed a very low dose of Nifedical (a kind of blood pressure medication). He said I could take it just during the winter months or on an as-needed basis, and it wouldn't hurt my body to be on or off it. I just started taking it and I think it might be making a difference... He did say we could increase the dose if necessary but I'll see how it goes with the low dose.
        Maybe you'd want to ask your doctor about it.


        • #5
          One of the heart meds is used to help Reynauds (beta blocker I believe).

          There are electric gloves that are great for Reynaud's sufferers...they're expensive, but work great. http://cozywinters.com/shop/zs-hgx.htm
          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


          • #6
            RN weighs in here.....

            DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT self diagnose cold fingertips as Reynauds without a doctors input or confirmation. You seem to be doing this and it's not productive for yourself or others to think this. Reynauds is fairly rare but frostbite, pre-frostbite and very cold extremities is very common. White & pain is poor circulation from cold. Simple. Warm up, wear better gloves etc.

            One tip for cold weather coping to remember - stay very, very well hydrated. Drink large glasses of water before going out and upon return. If you are even slightly dehyrated you will get colder quicker and your extremities will freeze very quickly. You are breathing heavy in very dry cold air and losing water thru your breath. Prevent cold fingers!-Drink!! (and NO alcohol!!! )


            • #7
              google is your friend

              Hi there, if you can post here you can google Reynauds. Like some others have said, you should have a dr. confirm that it is R. I have had Reynauds since I was 9 (I'm 52.) There have been years that it doesn't show up. Cold weather is not the only trigger: vibration, neck strain, stress, repetitive motion...I have had bouts in 80 degree weather if my neck is tweaked and/or I have to drive. If you really have Reynauds, it is good to really read up on it, learn how to manage it through diet and knowing what makes a flare.


              • #8
                You can take blood pressure medicine. I have R and my hands get cold, even when it hits about 30 degrees. This is not frostbite. If you have R your hands likely get very cold and hurt when it is not that cold outside.

                I have chosen not to take the meds, but as I get older my hands get worse and probably will have to at some point. Hand warmers are my life saver. I have just learned to deal with it. In the scheme of things it is a minor issue.


                • #9
                  During the winter my hands are ice cold, often one or two fingernails are blue - even when I am inside. If I eat an apple that has been in the fridge without letting it warm up first, my fingers will turn white and numb.
                  I wear mits not gloves when outside as my hands do not generate enough heat to keep gloves warm.
                  When riding I wear winter riding gloves PLUS finger mits with the top that can be velcro'd back so that I can have the full mitten effect when warming up then flip back the mit part so I can use my fingers when working.

                  The only medical advice I received was to move to Arizona. The meds can lower blood pressure and mine is already normally low so that is not an option. I am sure I would be very happy in Arizona there since I am perfectly comfortable in the summer when the temperature is in the 90s and everyone else is moaning about heat and humidity.


                  • Original Poster

                    Am definitely trying to self-diagnose... so I know what to ask when I go to the Dr.

                    Having blamed the past 2-3 winters on Byetta, I have been off that since August, and am having a worse time than ever. I'm also getting pins & needles in a couple fingers when NOT in the cold...

                    So obviously a Dr's appt is warranted. As I have no health insc for another month or two, I have to know what to ask and be very proactive about testing etc.

                    Thanks for the info so far. Interesting. I certainly was exposed to mild frostbite both as a child and back 5-6 years ago. I get the white-waxy fingers almost immediately. They hurt when I don't wear gloves below like 50 degrees.

                    Thyroid isn't where I'd like it to be either, nor, DEFINTELY is hydration (excellent point) which I'm awful about in winter. So this is a great starting point!
                    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                    • #11
                      Reynaud's is actually relatively common, ESPECIALLY among women. It's more than just turning pale, your skin turns white, and then bright red/purplish blue when the circulation is coming back, and this part hurts. I freaked the first time I took off my gloves last winter and had no capilary refill and the ends of my fingers on one hand were dead-flesh white. It's usually just fingers and toes, not face, though. It also doesn't require outdoor exposure--I get it wearing gloves, in the house, etc. For people who are very severe cases just getting something out of the freezer can be painful. I have low blood pressure and a family history of same and poor circulation so this is probably where it came from.

                      And with Reynauds, your skin looks normal again after you warm the digits up and return circulation. White, dead (as opposed to bloodless), red, or worst of all black that stings and then goes numb and doesn't come back right away is not Reynauds and can be frostbite. I got it once, a very minor case, on my face as a kid (this is why you WRAP UP, boys and girls, when it's icy and windy.) Reynaud's is low circulation (actually constricted capilaries) and chronic, frostbite is tissue death and acute.

                      I'm not medicated for the Reynaud's--I tend to bundle up. If one pair of gloves isn't good enough I'll wear two (I get those 1.50/2 knit gloves at Wal-Mart and either wear two of those or wear one pair under a thicker pair of gloves) and I wear socks and slippers in the house. (Yay thick wool socks.) If my fingers and toes start getting painfully cold I run them under warm water. And yeah, I also heard the "move to a warmer climate" line!
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                      • #12
                        I was diagnosed with Raynaud's about 8 years ago, at the same time they diagnosed my fibromyalgia. The only meds I take are the ones prescribed for my post-surgical back problems, as they tend to help with both the fibro and the Raynaud's. For the majority of the winter, my fingertips are death-white and quite painful. It affects my feet somewhat, but not nearly as bad as my hands. I can have a flare-up when it's 80˚, as well as when it's 30˚.

                        A professional diagnosis is your best bet (I would recommend seeing a good rheumatologist), as I originally thought the pain in my hands was a result of my failed carpal tunnel surgeries. Keeping the hands warm and not allowing them to get cold in the first place helps the most - I'm the weirdo wearing thin knit gloves in the summer, as just the cold water from bathing the horse will cause a flare up.

                        Once you know for sure what you're dealing with, there are quite a few meds and therapies that can help with the pain/circulation issues. Good luck!
                        ~*Friend of bar.ka*~


                        • #13
                          There is one other item to try , "Back on Track" ceramic gloves, they are thin can be used as glove liners and cost under $30.00 www.bigdweb.com
                          Thats Big D's in Ohio

                          I got them for my husband and they do help, they are designed to increase blood circulation .


                          • #14

                            Anyone have luck with gloves. The hand warmers do not keep my fingers warm and make it difficult to use the reins. The top of my nose also gets icey cold even sitting around the house.Love the toe warmers they work great.
                            The warmest riding gloves are ?


                            • #15
                              Gloves? Go to a ski shop and look/try some. Try some Mylar glove liners! The metallic threads help keep & reflect back hand & finger heat. Put on before you go outside; not after you've exposed your fingers btw. Also silk or polypropylene glove liners work for some folks.

                              Remember there are many,many causes of impaired circulation in extremities. Too many, tight gloves(or socks too) can hinder. ALWAYS chose mittens over gloves. Use mittens with glove liners. Loose layering with wool excellent!!
                              Also get checked for anemia, thyroid disease.
                              Best wishes, it's a long winter!