Treating constriction through medication
Raynaud's Syndrome: The condition ultimately affects many each year, but few are aware of its harsh effects.
In the case of Raynaud's Syndrome, the condition causes the body's smaller arteries to constrict due to spasms limiting blood flow to certain areas of the body - most commonly the nipples, fingers, ears, toes, knees, and nose. When spasms occur, a numbing, painful feeling occurs, and the afflicted areas turn white, blue, and finally red once blood flow returns. Most episodes of Raynaud's Syndrome typically last a few minutes, but some have reported episodes lasting up to several hours.
When Raynaud's is developed, either your medical doctor or vascular specialist will recommend a necessary method of treatment to undergo in order to limit the pain and symptoms brought on by the condition. Depending on the extent of the disease, you'll be opted a number of different methods - one of which is a medication regimen.
After being prescribed by either your doctor or vascular specialist, you'll typically be given one of three types of medication to aid in subsiding the effects of Raynaud's Syndrome, which we will discuss below.
1. Calcium channel blockers
Calcium channel blockers are able to treat a variety of conditions, from chest pain to hypertension, and can also be used to lessen the effects of Raynaud's Syndrome. Calcium channel blockers help to do just what their name implies: Prevent calcium from entering the heart and blood vessel walls' cells. Additionally, they also help to widen and relax blood vessels which, in turn, affect the muscle cells in the arterial walls.
When calcium channel blockers do this, they're able to help slow the user's heart rate, reduce blood pressure, alleviate chest pain, and control an irregular heartbeat. In relation to Raynaud's Syndrome, it means they're able to allow for increased blood flow back to the smaller arteries cut off from the condition.
Examples of calcium channel blockers include, but are not limited to: Amlodipine (Norvasc), Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac), Felodipine, Isradipine, Nicardipine, Nifedipine (Adalat CC, Afeditab CR, Procardia), Nisoldipine (Sular), Verapamil (Calan, Veralan).
2. Alpha Blockers
Alpha blockers, though work through different means, alleviate the effects of Raynaud's Syndrome through relaxing the blood vessels, particularly smaller vessels, to help them remain open. The way the medication works is through keeping the hormone norepinephrine from keeping the walls of smaller arteries and veins from tightening. In turn, this causes the blood vessels to remain open and relaxed, improving blood flow, as well as lowering blood pressure as a result.
Alpha blockers are divided into both short-acting and long-acting forms of medication - the former work quickly, but their effects don't last as long, while the latter is the exact opposite. The prescription for either of these medications will largely depend on your health and the extent of the condition's severity.
Examples of alpha blockers include, but are not limited to: Doxazosin (Cardura), Prazosin (Minipress), and Terzosin.
Vasodilators are medication that help widen the blood vessels in areas affected by Raynaud's Syndrome, allowing for blood to flow back through places that were once not possible. The method in which vasodilators do this, however, varies from medication to medication; Some vasodilators affect the smooth muscle cells lining blood vessels directly, while others affect the vasomotor center, located within the medulla oblongata in the brain, helping to regulate blood pressure.
In addition to Raynaud's Syndrome, vasodilators have been proven to be affective in treating hypertension, heart failure, and chest pain as a result of reduced blood flow to the heart.
Vasodilators typically come in three different variations: Arterial dilators (affecting arteries), Venous dilators (affecting veins), and mixed dilators (affecting both). Depending on your particular type of the condition, your doctor or vascular specialist will be able to recommend what is right for you.