|Both hands affected, about 30 minutes after I finished running and stopped at the store on my way home.|
|Just one finger affected- this was at a restaurant|
I only have trouble with my fingers. I don't usually have trouble when I'm running, but if I can't or don't change out of my sweaty clothes right after a run and take a hot shower, I will usually have an episode. Even in the summer, being in the air conditioning in sweaty clothes is enough to chill me and cause an episode. Sometimes I have episodes when I'm not running, like at a restaurant when I'm drinking something cold, or at the grocery store if I spend too much time in the refrigerated or freezer sections. My fingers will turn white first. They feel cold and numb and I lose the sense of touch. Hot water is the #1 thing that will reverse an episode for me. When an episode reverses, my fingers turn red and throb/tingle. It's not completely painful, but the best way I can describe it is an uncomfortable tingle.
I guess I had my first episode of Raynaud's as a teenager, but then it didn't bother me for a long time. Episodes became much more frequent when I started training for my first half marathon in winter 2010. There are treatments, but all medications come with risks, and I haven't had any long term effects from Raynaud's so I've shyed away from treatment in the past. I wear gloves outdoors most of the time when it's below 60 degrees. I carry a pair in my purse in case a restaurant or the grocery store is chilly. I use those chemical hand warming packs when it's near freezing. Keeping my core warm is the most important thing I've found, so I wear a jacket or vest even when it's as warm as 60.
I see a rheumatologist yearly to make sure I don't have any autoimmune disorders because Raynaud's can sometimes be affiliated with them and I have a family history. So far, I'm negative for anything like Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. A couple weeks ago, I went to my regular appointment with the doctor. He again brought up the option of treatment for Raynaud's. Because the episodes have become more frequent, last longer, and are harder to reverse than ever before, I was interested. He suggested a calcium channel blocker, a type of heart medication, that is used for high blood pressure and chest pain because it relaxes blood vessels. It can work for Raynaud's. I started taking Procardia about 9 days ago. I started at a very low dose, and the plan is to increase the dose if I still have episodes and as long as I tolerate the medication. I can take the Procardia seasonally- maybe just November through March. I had some low blood pressure and didn't feel quite right for the first few days but I've been feeling good the past week. I also haven't had any episodes! It's been pretty warm, so I'm not certain there's been a full challenge, yet. I should go up on my dosage tomorrow, but since I haven't had any episodes I'm going to wait. It would be great if I could stay at the lowest dose and it be effective.