Raynaud’s disease, a phenomenon characterized by a person’s body feeling numb or cold, particularly in their fingers and toes, has now shown signs in the tongue of one woman, according to a recent study. While symptoms presented in the hands and feet can be mitigated by the use of specialty socks or Raynaud’s disease gloves that control temperature, symptoms in the tongue present a new level of difficulty with treating the phenomenon.
Researchers believe that Raynaud’s is caused by reduced blood flow after exposure to cold or emotional stress, though that is not always the case. The disease results in the discoloration of the skin and also causes paresthesia, or the tingling, prickling, numbness or burning of one’s skin for no apparent reason.
The 29-year-old patient had experienced intermittent Raynaud’s in her toes and fingers over the course of a six-month period. During a routine examination, she told doctors that her tongue had also occasionally turned blue or white, followed by dysarthria, or difficulty controlling the muscles for speech. She was usually affected by this reaction when she woke up in the morning, with episodes lasting approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
“Lingual Raynaud phenomenon has not been reported to be a predictor of worse prognosis from the underlying autoimmune rheumatic disease,” the authors of the study wrote. “Dysarthria can occur during these episodes, although no hypothesis about its mechanism has been proposed.”
While drinking a cold beverage or seasonal changes did not seem to affect her symptoms, the woman did say she her tongue was affected when her body felt chilled or she went through intense emotions.
The authors noted that while dihydropyridine calcium-channel blockers – such as amlodipine – have been used successfully in the management of lingual Raynaud phenomenon, treatment with Norvasc (amlodipine) assisted in shortening the patient’s symptoms in her tongue, but did not decrease the frequency they were experienced. The authors also suggested that patients who experience lingual Raynaud’s should take photographs to capture episodes and discuss the severity and frequency with their doctors.
Keeping on top of your treatment, whether through doctor’s recommendations or something as simple as always using Raynaud’s disease gloves, is key.