What causes purple discoloration on palms and fingers?
Thanks for your question. This sounds like Raynauds disease.
Raynaud's (ray-NOHZ) disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers, toes, the tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas.
Women are more likely to have Raynaud's disease. It's also more common in people who live in colder climates.
Treatment of Raynaud's disease depends on its severity and whether you have any other health conditions. For most people, Raynaud's disease is more a nuisance than a disability.
Self-care and prevention steps, such as dressing in layers or wearing gloves or heavy socks, usually are effective in dealing with mild symptoms of Raynaud's. If these aren't adequate, however, medications are available to treat more-severe forms of the condition. The goals of treatment are to:
Reduce the number and severity of attacks
Prevent tissue damage
Treat any underlying disease or condition
Depending on the cause of your symptoms, medications may help treat Raynaud's. To widen (dilate) blood vessels and promote circulation, your doctor may prescribe:
Calcium channel blockers. These drugs relax and open up small blood vessels in your hands and feet. They decrease the frequency and severity of attacks in most people with Raynaud's. These drugs can also help heal skin ulcers on your fingers or toes. Examples include nifedipine (Adalat CC, Afeditab CR, Procardia), amlodipine (Norvasc) and felodipine (Plendil).
Alpha blockers. Some people find relief with drugs called alpha blockers, which counteract the actions of norepinephrine, a hormone that constricts blood vessels. Examples include prazosin (Minipress) and doxazosin (Cardura).
Vasodilators. Some doctors prescribe a vasodilator — a drug that relaxes blood vessels — such as nitroglycerin cream to your fingers to help heal skin ulcers. Your doctor may also prescribe vasodilator drugs that are commonly used to treat other conditions, but may effectively relieve the symptoms of Raynaud's. These drugs include the high blood pressure drug losartan (Cozaar), the erectile dysfunction medication sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), the antidepressant medication fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), and a class of medication called prostaglandins.
You and your doctor may find that one drug works better for you than another. Some drugs used to treat Raynaud's have side effects that may require you to stop taking the medication. A drug may also lose effectiveness over time. Work with your doctor to find what works best for you.
Some medications actually can aggravate Raynaud's by leading to increased blood vessel spasm. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid taking:
Certain over-the-counter (OTC) cold drugs. Examples include drugs that contain pseudoephedrine (Chlor-Trimeton, Sudafed).
Beta blockers. This class of drugs, used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease, includes metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL).
If you have questions about how best to manage Raynaud's, contact your doctor. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a physician who specializes in treating Raynaud's.
I hope this answers your question.
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