A disturbance of blood circulation in the fingers and toes is known as Raynaud's phenomenon, often known as Raynaud's syndrome or sickness (and less commonly of the ears and nose). Exposure to cold aggravates this problem. When a person develops Raynaud's phenomenon, exposure to cold lowers blood flow in an atypical way, resulting in pale, waxy-white, or purple skin. The condition is also known as ""white finger,"" ""wax finger,"" or ""dead finger."" Workplace exposures are one of many possible causes of the Raynaud's phenomenon. It is most frequently linked to ""hand-arm vibration syndrome"" in the workplace, although it is also a factor in other occupational illnesses. It's critical to understand the warning signs and symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon as well as the employment risks that can lead to it. The disorder can be stopped from developing or from worsening with awareness. The condition might permanently impede the blood flow to the fingers if it is not discovered in its early stages. Even though Raynaud's phenomenon does not provide a life-threatening risk, severe cases might make a person disabled and even force them to quit their employment. Even though they are uncommon, severe cases can cause gangrene and skin collapse. Less severely affected workers occasionally need to alter their social and professional routines to avoid white finger assaults. It is unclear why Raynaud's phenomenon happens. Typically, the body reduces blood flow to the extremities, especially the hands and feet, in order to conserve heat. The tiny blood vessels in the skin's surface are controlled by a sophisticated network of nerves and muscles during this reaction. This regulatory system becomes too sensitive to cold in persons who have Raynaud's phenomenon, significantly reducing blood flow to the fingers and toes. Adrenaline, which is released during times of extreme stress or anxiety, can also decrease blood flow.
What are the symptoms and indicators of Raynaud's syndrome?
The most obvious symptom of Raynaud's phenomenon is episodes of impaired blood circulation in the fingers. Attacks like these happen when the hands or the entire body gets cold, whether it's from stress or from being at work or home. Washing a car, gripping a car's cold steering wheel, or clutching a bicycle's cold handlebars are examples of household or recreational tasks that expose people to the cold. Attacks of white finger can also happen while a person is outdoors taking in a sporting event, gardening, fishing, or playing golf in chilly weather. Attacks typically happen when a person is chilly or agitated. Typical signs include: cold hands or feet. In the fingers, toes, nose, lips, and ears, there is tingling and a minor loss of feeling or numbness. Finger blanching or whitening that typically doesn't impact the thumb. numbness, prickliness, or stinging discomfort that may be accompanied by redness and subside with warmth or stress alleviation. The skin's color changes may be progressive, moving from white to blue to red. If workers continue to be exposed to the condition that produces the issue, occupationally induced Raynaud's phenomenon eventually gets worse. Attacks are worse and more frequent as the disease gets worse. Therefore, it is crucial to spot the warning signs and symptoms as soon as possible. Vibration-induced situations are frequently rated using the Stockholm Workshop categorization. This classification takes into account both vascular (blood flow) and neuronal (touch, heat, cold, etc.) alterations separately [see Tables 1(a) and 1(b)]. Table 1 lists the symptoms classified by the Stockholm Workshop as peripheral vascular and sensorineural symptoms (a) Vascular evaluation Grade Description Stage 0 (none) No assaults 1 Infrequent, mild episodes that only affect the tips of one or more fingers 2 Moderate Occasional attacks affecting the distal and middle phalanges of the fingers, as well as infrequently impacting the portions of the finger closest to the palm (proximal phalanges) 3 Severe, recurring attacks that impact all sections of the majority of fingers (all phalages) 4 Very Serious same signs and symptoms to stage 3, but with fingertip skin abnormalities (b) sensory-motor evaluation Initial Symptoms OSN Vibration exposure, but no symptoms 1SN Intermittent numbness, accompanied or unaccompanied by tingling 2SN Intermittent or persistent numbness, reduced sensory perception 3SN Intermittent or persistent numbness, reduced tactile discrimination and/or manipulative dexterity Source: Gemne, G., et al. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health. Vol. 13, no. 4 (1987). p. 275-278. And: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). 2016 TLVs® and BEIs®. p. 190-194 and 198-204.
What causes Raynaud's phenomenon?
The exact cause of Raynaud's phenomenon is not known. Raynaud's phenomenon affects more women than men. Some people have this phenomenon for reasons that cannot be determined. This is called """"primary Raynaud's phenomenon"""". It usually affects both hands equally. People can also get Raynaud's phenomenon because of certain underlying diseases (e.g., scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus) or injuries. This form is known as """"secondary Raynaud's phenomenon."""" Within the workplace, several hazards can cause secondary Raynaud's phenomenon. Exposure to vibration from power tools is the greatest concern. Hand-held power tools such as chain saws, jackhammers, pneumatic rock drillers and chippers can cause """"hand-arm vibration syndrome."""" This disorder is also known as """"vibration-induced white finger"""", """"hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)"""", or """"Raynaud's phenomenon of occupational origin."""" Raynaud's phenomenon, however, is only one aspect of the hand-arm vibration syndrome. Vibration also damages nerves, muscles, bones and joints of the hand and arm. See the OSH Answers document Vibration – Health Effects for more information. Before the cancer-causing effects of vinyl chloride were known, workers exposed to high levels of this chemical often experienced Raynaud's phenomenon. Vinyl chloride also caused breakdown of the bones of the fingertips, and other health problems. Raynaud's phenomenon from vinyl chloride is now an unlikely occurrence in Canada since exposure to this chemical is controlled much better than in the past. Raynaud's phenomenon is also seen in typists and professional pianists from repeated finger stress, as well as in dentists and dental technicians. Frostbite injury with damage to the blood vessels can also cause Raynaud's phenomenon. A few studies have suggested that gripping a hand tool too tightly could cause Raynaud's phenomenon. Other studies have identified Raynaud's phenomenon in workers who injured their hands by using them for hammering, or pushing or twisting heavy objects. In these cases, Raynaud's phenomenon was part of a disorder called hypothenar hammer syndrome.
How long does it take for Raynaud's phenomenon to develop?
The time between first contact with the hazardous condition and the appearance of Raynaud's phenomenon is known as the latent period. This time varies according to the type of hazard, the amount of exposure, and the individual worker. Some people are more susceptible than others. The latent period for vibration exposure can be as short as one year. As a general rule, severe exposure reduces the latent period. If the latent period for a group of workers is short, the disorder tends to appear more frequently. Also, in individuals with a short latent period, Raynaud's phenomenon tends to progress to advanced stages faster.
What workers are at risk of Raynaud's phenomenon?
Raynaud's phenomenon is primarily a concern for workers who handle vibrating tools or equipment such as pneumatic drills, jackhammers, chipping hammers, riveting tools, impact wrenches, pavement-breakers, gasoline-powered chain saws, electric tools, and grinding wheels, especially in pedestal grinders. Any vibrating tool that causes you a feel of tingling or numbness in your fingers after 5 minutes of continuous use, could lead to Raynaud's phenomenon. Raynaud's phenomenon is also seen in typists and professional pianists from repeated finger stress.
What tests are available for Raynaud's phenomenon?
Several laboratory tests can help determine if a person has Raynaud's phenomenon. Some of these tests measure skin sensitivity or blood flow in the fingers, especially under cooling conditions. As yet, however, none of these tests is universally accepted for detecting Raynaud's phenomenon. These tests together with careful analysis of an individual's work history and detailed medical history including signs and symptoms are useful in judging if a person has Raynaud's phenomenon. Other tests are often performed to rule out other possible underlying causes.
What treatment is available for Raynaud's phenomenon?
Workers with mild cases of vibration-induced Raynaud's phenomenon may recover if the hazard that caused it is avoided. For severe cases, prescribed drugs may reduce the attacks. The aims of treatment are to reduce the number and severity of attacks, and to prevent damage to the fingers and toes. When triggers can be identified, an effective therapy is to avoid further exposure to situations that may trigger an attack. Extra clothing to maintain body temperature including warm socks and gloves are essential to keep feet and hands warm. It is also important to find ways to reduce stress as emotional upsets can trigger an attack. If detected in the early stages, vibration-induced Raynaud's phenomenon will not worsen as long as there is no further exposure to vibration. Early cases may actually improve, but advanced cases seldom do. Surgery often reverses Raynaud's phenomenon caused by hypothenar hammer syndrome.
How do you live with Raynaud's phenomenon?
Precautions can be taken to reduce the number and intensity of attacks of white finger. These precautions include the following: Protect the body from cold temperatures. Dress appropriately for cold weather by wearing layers, mittens/gloves, overcoat, hat, and scarf. Avoid exposing your hands to extreme cold -- wear gloves when working in cold water or reaching into a freezer. Protect your hands and feet from injury. Avoid tobacco -- nicotine can reduce blood circulation. Decrease stress and anxiety. Exercise can increase circulation. Exercise regularly and drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration. During an attack, warm your fingers and toes (e.g., place hands under arm pits or make wide circles (windmills) with your arms, run warm water over your fingers, or soak your feet in a bowl of warm water) and take time to relax.
How can Raynaud's phenomenon be prevented?
Be aware of workplace hazards that cause Raynaud's phenomenon, and take the precautions needed to prevent vibration and cold exposure. General Precautions Protect the hands from damage and extreme temperatures. Keep warm at work - wear gloves and warm clothing when working in the cold. Massage and exercise your fingers during your breaks. If tingling, numbness or signs of white finger develop, promptly consult a physician. Precautions with Vibrating Tools Anti-vibration tools, anti-vibration gloves, and anti-vibration shields may help reduce exposure to vibration. In general, grinding, machining, and vibrating processes should be as fully automated as possible. Workers should use vibrating tools only when necessary. There are several ways to reduce the amount of vibration that passes from the tool to the hands. Use only well-maintained and properly operating tools. Hold vibrating tools as lightly as possible, consistent with safe work practices. Let the tool do the work. Rest vibrating tools on a support or work piece as much as possible. Store tools so that they do not have cold handles when next used. Use proper job design with scheduled breaks to reduce exposure to vibration. It is important for workers to recognize if early symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon have occurred, and then get appropriate advice to reduce further exposure to vibration.
Are there laws regarding vibration exposure at work?
Canada (federal), British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut are the jurisdictions in Canada that have specifically mentioned vibration exposure within their occupational health and safety regulations in terms of worker health or musculoskeletal effects. Most jurisdictions do not regulate a specific limit to exposure, but rather state that workplaces must control for vibration where it can cause health or musculoskeletal effects. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has published exposure recommendations for prevention of hand-arm and whole body vibration.""" - https://www.affordablecebu.com/