Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Raynaud's Disease: Behavioral Treatment
Robert R. Freedman
Raynaud's disease is a disorder of peripheral blood vessels in which blood flow in the fingers and toes stops when they are exposed to cold. The attacks typically last about 5 to 15 minutes, may occur several times a day, and can be quite painful. Because the symptoms are localized, and because healthy individuals can be trained to increase their peripheral blood flow with behavioral methods such as biofeedback, these techniques have been used to treat persons suffering from Raynaud's disease. The disease was first described by a French physician, Maurice Raynaud, in his doctoral thesis published in 1862. When exposed to cold, the digits first turn white, due to the cessation of blood flow. This is followed by a blue or cyanotic phase caused by depletion of oxygen in the remaining blood. During these periods, the digits feel numb or extremely cold. The attacks often end with a red ...