BY TIFFANY VANCE-HUFFMAN
The feet are an important part of the body, and many times, they end up getting a lot of the issues when it comes to fibromyalgia.
That being said, Raynaud’s Phenomenon is another common foot issue that sometimes occurs when someone is dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon? What does it do to our feet and what can we do in order to make sure that it stays under control in the midst of our fibromyalgia symptoms? That’s what we’re going to take a look at today.
What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Why Does it Happen?
Many people who have clicked on this article likely don’t even know what Raynaud’s Phenomenon is. And that’s okay – it’s a semi regular problem (it’s estimated that up to 10% of people deal with it), and it’s not incredibly dangerous, but it is something that you want to keep an eye on, especially if you are fighting off the symptoms and flares that come with fibromyalgia.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon is an issue that happens in your blood stream – the circulatory system. As you likely know, the blood stream goes through our entire body, delivering all types of cells throughout the body. If there is an area of the body that is not getting enough blood flow, or if there is something blocking all of the circulation, you’re going to feel some sort of tingling or numbness.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon affects your extremities, specifically your fingers and toes, but it can also go into the bottom of your feet and the palms of your hands if you are dealing with a severe case of it. Many people who get it will get it before the age of forty, and it often starts during the teenage years of a person’s life.
Overreacting to the Cold
As you likely know, the blood vessels play a big role in keeping our body warm, specifically those vital organs that are located in our torso. This is why we get flushed in our cheeks and such – it’s how our body is trying to keep us warm. The blood in our system gets pumped more toward our organs so that they stay safe and warm, and our extremities don’t end up getting enough. That’s why our fingers, toes, and nose get cold before anything else, usually.
What happens in Raynaud’s Phenomenon is that the body starts to feel cold, and when you feel cold, your blood vessels start to contract. This is normal, but then that’s where the problems start to happen. The system that is trying to control the warmth is a lot more sensitive than usual, and the body, essentially, overreacts. The blood vessels constrict more than they should, and in certain parts of the body, you will notice that your vessels may even collapse, which is a huge problem. When they collapse, blood stops going to the toes and fingers, and you start to feel numb or you feel “pins and needles” on those areas.
Like mentioned above, this isn’t dangerous on its own – the problem comes when it starts to happen on a regular basis. Most people who suffer from Raynaud’s Phenomenon will get short attacks that only last for a few minutes. But, if it starts to get into the hours, you need to keep an eye on what is going on. The blood vessels may not be able to get started up again, which can result in issues like gangrene and tissue damage. In the worst cases, people have ended up losing toes and fingers – but that’s really rare and doesn’t happen to the majority of those who have Raynaud’s Phenomenon. Ouch!
How are Raynaud’s Phenomenon And Fibromyalgia Connected?
From the description of Raynaud’s Phenomenon that we listed above, you probably have at least somewhat of an idea as to how these two issues are related. Fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s Phenomenon both deal with the body’s sensitivity to certain stimuli. There are two major types of Raynaud’s Phenomenon – one is primary, which just happens on its own. But, if you have Raynaud’s Phenomenon that is hand in hand with your fibromyalgia, this is referred to as secondary Raynaud’s Phenomenon, and that’s where the problems come into play.
This form of Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a lot more serious, and could end up with a lot more complications than you would if you had Raynaud’s Phenomenon on its own. It’s not life threatening in any way, but you really have to be careful if you want to make sure that you don’t end up with some of the issues that we talked about above.
Why do a lot of people with Raynaud’s Phenomenon have fibromyalgia as well? Mainly, it’s because they deal with the same systems. Yes, fibromyalgia is more in your nerves than your blood stream, but the effects are the same and the nerves end up getting affected with both of them. And, if you’re having a flare up, it’s even more common for you to end up having the symptoms of Raynaud’s Phenomenon on top of it. If you’re starting to notice that your Raynaud’s Phenomenon is getting worse, then you are going to want to talk to your doctor about it. They can prescribe medications in order to help reduce the severity of the symptoms, and they can keep track of them.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon and fibromyalgia almost go hand in hand, but you don’t have to have one in order to have the other. By understanding the diseases that usually are connected to fibromyalgia, you can have a better idea when odd bodily changes occur. If you are starting to notice the symptoms of Raynaud’s Phenomenon and you aren’t exactly sure what to do about it, you should work with your doctor and figure out the best treatment plan, whether it’s a natural treatment plan or prescription medication. Don’t just deal with it – there are lots of ways for you to find relief, if you seek it out.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon and Fibromyalgia: www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_raynauds.html
Raynaud’s Syndrome in Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whyfmscfsarelinked/a/raynauds.htm