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 for Raynaud’s should always be on hand if you experience symptoms of the disease. Prevention and protection is crucial when it comes to circulatory issues.