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Abnormal Blood Cells Found in Raynaud’s Patients

A recent study published in the journal Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that abnormal red blood cells detected in patients suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon may contribute to the disease. The study found that the abnormalities, especially increased cell aggregation and impaired deformability, contributes to poor blood circulation in small vessels, also known as microcirculation.

Though certain items, like gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers, help mitigate symptoms, the phenomenon currently has no known treatment due to the continued uncertainty regarding what causes it. Raynaud’s presents several factors linked to local diminished blood supply in affected body parts, including neural factors and vascular and intravascular abnormalities. Hemorheological factors – the properties of the blood including its flow – of Raynaud’s, however, have remained controversial in previous studies.

The research team for the most recent retrospective study analyzed blood samples from 74 Raynaud’s patients and 58 healthy patients (as the control). Certain blood parameters were assessed, such as the volume percentage of red blood cells in blood (a test known as hematocrit), plasma and whole blood viscosity, red blood cell aggregation, and deformability. They also examined cold agglutinins – antibodies produced in response to infections that cause red blood cells to lump together in low temperatures – and cryoglobulins – proteins that become insoluble at low temperatures.

The findings of the study showed that Raynaud’s patients do carry abnormal qualities in several of the hemorheological parameters examined compared to the control group. Researchers specifically noted that these patients have increased red blood cell (erythrocyte) aggregation and that the cells are overall abnormal since they presented decreased deformability, which is the ability of red blood cells to change their shape under certain conditions without breaking.

Analysis also showed, however, that while 70 percent of the patients’ blood was positive for cold agglutinins and 43 percent was positive for cryoglobulins, neither one seemed to influence the hemorheological parameters. Additionally, there were no reported differences between the hematocrit, plasma and whole blood viscosity in the two groups.

Since disabled deformability and erythrocyte aggregation can impair blood flow rates, patients with Raynaud’s syndrome are more susceptible to the impairment of tissue oxygenation, which can lead to the worsening of symptoms and even the development of small ulcers and gangrene.

“Erythrocyte aggregation and deformability seems to be unfavorable in patients suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon, which can play a role in the disturbance of microcirculation, thus the phenomenon is not only a vasospastic, but also a complex circulatory disorder,” the team concluded.

If you’re suffering from Raynaud’s syndrome, our gloves may help. Learn more about our gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers here.

Ways to Increase the Effect of Hand Warming Gloves

When you suffer from Raynaud’s Phenomenon, or are dealing with Raynaud’s as a side effect to your scleroderma, keeping your extremities – especially your hands – warm seems nearly impossible. But not all hope is lost when trying to find some warm comfort for your cold fingers. Check out these tips to keep your hands warm in addition to using our specialized hand warming gloves.

Long Sleeves: A two-fold trick, wearing long sleeves not only keeps your arms nice and toasty, but finding sleeves long enough to fold over or tuck into your hand warming gloves help keep even more cold air from getting to your hands.

Layer It Up: At this point, you’re probably used to layering shirts, jackets, and leggings to keep your body warm. But did you know that it works for your hands too? With our hand warming glove as liners, you can double the warmth under gloves you already own to give your hands that extra hug during the colder months. They’re also light enough to be used on their own during the summer,  and they’re flexible for full range of motion and technology friendly when you want to use your phone.

Heating Pad: If you work at an office that just seems to keep cranking up the AC, give a desktop heating pad a try. When you find your hands are too cold, slip them underneath the pad for a few minutes before you continue typing away.

Drink Hot Beverages: Again, this is a tip that puts in two times the work. Drinking hot beverages, such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, not only warms the body, but keeping the cup in your hands adds just a little touch of warmth to your fingers as well.

Warm Water: Before you put on your hand warming gloves, give this little trick a try. Turn the faucet to warm, but not scalding, and let your hands sit under the running water for a few minutes. When you’re finished, dry your hands quickly and slip on your gloves to maximize the heat production.

Staying warm, even during the summer, can be a struggle – especially if you suffer from Raynaud’s disease. However, with gloves on hand and a few quick tricks, you’ll be comfortable in no time.

Raynaud’s Isn’t Just a Problem in Winter

When the Temperature drops low and the wind is starting to pick up speed, for most of us, it’s only natural to reach for your favorite pair of gloves to warm your cold hands. But for Raynaud’s sufferers, that feeling is there all year round. Our gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers offer a variety of stylish and comfortable options to reduce some of the cold symptoms of the disease.

Though doctors have not been able to pinpoint what causes Raynaud’s, the phenomenon is characterized by an excessive temporary vasoconstriction that commonly occurs in the fingers and toes, often triggered by cold temperatures or stressful situations. The symptoms include area pain, discoloration and the sensation of cold and/or numbness.

Most surveys have shown that 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population has Raynaud’s phenomenon as a primary condition, while 5 to 10 percent will see it associated with an underlying cause, such as an autoimmune disease like scleroderma. (To give perspective, rheumatoid arthritis affects 1 to 2 percent of the general population.)

The pain and numbness for Raynaud’s sufferers is compounded by the lack of choices they have in the form and functionality of products that claim to help. Individuals are often left with sweatshirts, double layers of socks, and long pants and sleeves as all times.

“I look at clothes through a lens of excess, always buying more than a normal person should because I actually need it,” Jennifer Billock, a guest writer for the Vox Media site Racked, wrote. “I look for thin long-sleeved shirts that I can wear all year, light gloves that can be layered depending on the severity of my Raynaud’s attack, cardigans to go over tank tops because I can’t just wear a tank top, thick wool socks that won’t overheat me. And I never, ever wear shorts. Not because I don’t like how I look in them, but because I need to have my legs covered, either by jeans or tights or leggings or tall boots or something, because otherwise it could trigger an attack.”

For individuals like Billock, the activities of shopping, moving and even dressing can be stressful and daunting experiences. Though few treatment options are currently available, there are ongoing clinical trials that are beginning to show positive and promising results.

In the meantime, give UNIQKNITSä a chance to help you handle daily symptoms with our gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers. Learn more about our products and how our gloves work.

Possible Treatment Finishes Trial

After announcing the inclusion of Raynaud’s phenomenon in its Phase 1 scleroderma cell therapy program in January, Cytori Therapeutics marked the completion of the 48-week follow-up clinical trial.

Scleroderma is a condition that involves the skin and internal organs with patients often having blood vessel dysfunction, which can create Raynaud’s phenomenon in patients dealing with blood flow impairment to their hands and feet. The condition can also create excessive tissue fibrosis, which can lead to symptoms of thickening and scarring.

With Cytori’s Celution device, researchers determined that it was possible to isolate a population of fat tissue cells that are believed to have important therapeutic qualities. Adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) were found to be able to maintain and repair vessel structures, modulate inflammatory responses, and reduce fibrosis processes.

Results from earlier phases of the trial showed that scleroderma patients given ADRCs-based Habeo cell therapy for up to 12 months saw improved hand function and 30 to 35 percent improvement in vascular suppression score in their fingers. The study also showed that, among the patients who saw improvement, Raynaud’s phenomenon was reduced by 68 percent compared to starting levels.

The positive results support Habeo cell therapy’s therapeutic potential and allowed Cytori to continue its randomized, placebo-controlled STAR trial, which enrolled 88 participants who had limited hand function due to scleroderma. After the completion of the results from the trial, participants given the placebo will be offered the opportunity to switch to the Habeo cell therapy.

Cytori hopes the results of the STAR trial, which are expected in the third quarter of 2017, will support premarket approval submission on its Celution device to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by 2018.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the pains of scleroderma and Raynaud’s disease, please see how our self-heating gloves may be able to help. Learn more about how our gloves work.

3 Ways to Manage Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Even though the summer months are in full swing, that doesn’t mean that your Raynaud’s is dormant. From cold office temperatures to making frosty recipes to enjoy in the hot sun, your Raynaud’s can flare up even in the heat of summer. Don’t put those gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers away with the rest of your winter garb. In addition to using gloves year-round, here are some other tips on managing your Raynaud’s syndrome.

Stay Healthy

Keeping your overall health as a top priority is a crucial to managing Raynaud’s syndrome. From doing things like quitting smoking to focusing on a healthy diet, overall positive life choices can help you manage this ailment. Keep a consistent exercise plan. Exercising can increase and improve circulation, however, if you’re planning on exercising outside in colder months – be sure to dress for it!

Stay Warm

As simple as it sounds, especially in the summer, staying warm is the best way to manage Raynaud’s syndrome. If you work in an office that tends to keep the AC cranked all summer, be sure to wear gloves for Raynaud’s sufferers while you’re at work. If you notice the temperature of your hands beginning to drop, run them under warm water to try and stave off an attack. Keep hand warmers in your desk for particularly cold days. Anything you’d do during the winter can be transferred into chilly offices.

Stay Relaxed

Sometimes stress and anxiety can trigger a flare up of Raynaud’s. Staying out of stressful situations and keeping anxiety under control are key to avoiding an episode of numb, white fingers and hands. Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and focus on breath. Focusing on breathing can reduce stress, lower your heart rate, and can even slow aging. Combining focused breathing with exercise, like yoga, is the perfect combination to keep your Raynaud’s in check.

Making small changes in your life can have a big impact on managing Raynaud’s syndrome. Whether it’s starting a new exercise plan or focusing on meditation, staying healthy is key.

Study Finds Vibrations Cause Capillary Walls in the Hand to Thicken

There are many afflictions associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon. Many can be helped by an excellent pair of heated gloves. However, sometimes Raynaud’s isn’t caused by cold and wet conditions. One of these types is caused by repetitive vibration. Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) occurs when vibration damages fingers, hands, and arms as a result of working with vibrating tools or machinery. Vibration-induced Raynaud’s disease can be one of the early symptoms of HAVS. Patients experience tingling and numbness, as well as a change in finger color. But why?

A recent study found that vibration-induced Raynaud’s seems to be caused by the thickening of the capillary walls within the hand. Vibrations from long-term use of power tools can permanently damage tissue in the hands and arms resulting in HAVS. This type of tissue damage is irreversible and can only be managed after it’s been done.

In this study, a team of French researchers built a model to explore how the artery wall structure changed when exposed to vibration. However, replicating the elapsed time to cause long-term tissue damage in a model proved to be more challenging than they’d anticipated. In order to accurately study this affliction, the team split the model into two and developed a method for transitioning between them. With two models, they were able to link vibration to capillary growth with the help of so-called biomechanical chaining.

The results of the study showed that vibrations cause capillary walls to become thicker, which in turn causes Raynaud’s symptoms to appear and furthermore HAVS to set it. They noted in the report, “The vibrations emitted by the hand-held power tool are … linked to the capillary growth through the adopted biomechanical growth model at the capillary level. The obtained results show that vibrations induce an increase of the thickness of the capillary’s wall.”

While this type of Raynaud’s isn’t induced by cold and wet conditions, heated gloves should always be on hand if you experience symptoms of the disease. Prevention and protection is crucial when it comes to circulatory issues.

Ways to Beat Office Air Conditioning

The season for air conditioning is just around the corner. With it comes the delicate balance of temperature control in offices. Gather your self-heating gloves, space heaters, and bundling layers. Many offices are notorious for being shivering cold for some but just right for others during the summer months. If you’re one of the former, how can you beat the chill and focus on your work? Here are some of the best tips for avoiding the chill of office air conditioning this summer.

Bundle Up

It might seem counterintuitive to bundle up with the temperature outside is soaring. But for some who work in offices, staying warm in the cranked-up air conditioning is crucial. Beyond losing productivity on just being cold, the risk for some is much greater. Those who suffer from issues like Raynaud’s phenomenon can be seriously affected when the AC is left on high. Dressing in layers and focusing on keeping your extremities warm are key to keeping your disease at bay. Self-heating gloves can make all the difference between a flair up and keeping warm.

Open the Curtains

Let the sun shine in! Often times, window treatments in offices are designed to keep the heat or cold out – depending on the season. If the sun is out and your office is in a prime location, open the curtains or blinds and let the light do its job. Thought it might not make a huge difference in temperature, anything helps! And, it’ll make you feel better at minimum.

Warmth in a Cup

Do the types of things to you do when the weather outside is frightful – have a warm beverage. Tea or coffee in a toasty mug can not only warm your hands in a frosty office, but warm your body, too. Having lunch in? Bring soup and enjoy the warming benefits while you eat.

Insulate Your Equipment

Something as simple as using a cushion on your chair could help increase your feeling of warmth. If your chair is bare bones and without padding, the cold can seem even worse. Bring in a cushion to increase insulation in your seat. While you’re at it, consider bringing a heated blanket into the office – it’s energy efficient and can keep you warm all day.

Get Outside

Get outside when you can. Obviously, you can’t spend your entire work day wondering the property, but try to take short breaks to warm yourself up. Eat your lunch outside in the warmth and sunshine to increase your body temperature in preparation for the afternoon. Even just five minutes here and there can help!

Whether you’re bundled up, typing away with self-heating gloves, or cuddled under an electric blanket, keep yourself warm and focused this summer.

New Test Can Monitor Blood Flow in Women with Raynaud’s

A new study shows how a non-invasive test can measure the peripheral circulatory problems in women who suffer from primary or secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon. Researchers in Japan have discovered that they can monitor circulatory function by using laser-Doppler flowmetry, a noninvasive technique, to measure blood flow in the fingers. Typically, Laser-Doppler flowmetry is used to monitor changes at the skin’s surface, however it is also an effective way to measure changes in deep vessels and subsequent finger blood flow.

The Japanese study measured peripheral circulatory function in women with primary and secondary Raynaud’s compared to women without the disease. The women were asked to dunk their hands in cold water for a specific amount of time then readings were taken to measure finger skin temperature and blood flow. These tests turned out to be accurate ways to predict Raynaud’s phenomenon at least 82-85% of the time.

Initial skin temperature measurements of the fingers who were in the primary Raynaud’s group were lower compared with the two other groups. Those with primary Raynaud’s showed an average temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the control group. When each subject submerged a hand in cold water for one minute, they all experienced about a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) drop in temperature. However, the recovery rate of those in the primary Raynaud’s group was lower than the other two groups.

This study shows that these non-invasive means of testing can provide a benefit to those with Raynaud’s or those who have yet to be diagnosed by monitoring changes in peripheral circulatory function in patients. The primary benefit of this testing is a higher probability of diagnosis of primary or secondary Raynaud’s.

If you suffer from circulatory issues, our gloves for Raynaud’s might be the perfect self-care item. Learn more about how our gloves work.

Reduced Blood Flow Found in Raynaud’s Patients

A recent study appearing in the International Journal of Cardiology found that patients who suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon also have reduced blood flow to heart tissue. The study found that, in addition to the typical symptoms experienced by those with Raynaud’s phenomenon, these patients also experienced a decrease in blood flow to heart tissue. This reduced blood flow could account for the increase in heart disease cases in Raynaud’s patients.

A group of researchers at The Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Greece held a study with 20 patients suffering from primary Raynaud’s syndrome, as well as an equal number of those with secondary Raynaud’s and a control group. Those in the secondary group also had a variety of auto-immune disorders ranging from lupus to rheumatoid arthritis.

Using heart magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a procedure that makes the heart arteries dilate — the researchers evaluated blood flow in the heart muscles. They measured the myocardial perfusion reserve index, otherwise known as an indicator of how well blood is delivered to the heart. What they found was that each patient, suffering from either primary or secondary Raynaud’s, experienced lower blood perfusion measures in the heart muscle compared to the control group.

There was no link found between how well blood reached the heart and disease duration or inflammation as a result. However, it is interesting that patients with Raynaud’s experienced a decrease in blood flow to heart tissue. More research needs to be completed, but this study is a great start at exploring the issues surrounding Raynaud’s syndrome.

Raynaud’s Diagnosed from Hand Injury

Typically, Raynaud’s Disease is diagnosed as a result of seeking medical advice or care after several episodes or flare-ups of the disease. However, in a recent case highlighted in The Journal of Emergency Medicine a patient was diagnosed with secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon in conjunction with systemic lupus erythematosus after a visit to the emergency room. A 41-year-old Chinese woman came to the emergency room after a minor trauma complaining of discoloration and pain in her right index finger. She’d been experiencing the symptoms for approximately two months which started after inadvertently catching her hand in a metal cupboard at work. About a month after the injury, she sought treatment from a hand specialist who diagnosed her with transient nerve injury (neuropraxia) secondary to contusion. Despite seeking treatment and a diagnosis, her symptoms persisted.

She came to the emergency room a month after her initial treatment with the hand specialist due to persistent symptoms. The doctors there noted discoloration over several fingertips on both her hands, and hyperpigmented, scaly-plaques on her forehead, which are signs suggestive of an underlying systemic disease. After some testing, the patient was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus – an autoimmune disease. The initial testing did not produce the appropriate result for her Raynaud’s case to be considered primary. Typically, patients with primary Raynaud’s undergo vascular studies, including capillaroscopy and photoplethysmography, which frequently show abnormal results in cases of occupational-related or primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. As this patient’s results were normal, she was diagnosed with secondary Raynaud’s as a result of an accompanying autoimmune disorder.

Although no one is exactly sure why Raynaud’s phenomenon accompanies autoimmune disorders, doctors do know that there are a few that typically result in it: rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and also lupus.

The team that wrote the journal article noted, “This case illustrates a common presenting complaint to the ED [emergency department] with an unexpected final diagnosis. The symptoms could have been easily attributed to chronic pain from the initial trauma and repetitive stress and treated with analgesia. However, the presence of discoloration over the affected finger as well as the uninjured fingers should prompt the emergency physician to look for other causes.”

Getting the appropriate diagnosis and care for Raynaud’s is crucial to treatment. If left untreated or unmonitored, Raynaud’s can lead to ulcerations of the fingers and eventually necrosis and gangrene. Ensuring you’re visiting the right physicians and making them aware of your entire history is key.

Many Raynaud’s sufferers have found UNIQKNIT’s gloves to keep their hands warm when other gloves won’t. See our store here.