Anne contacted me in November 1978. She had Raynaud's disease, an ailment that affects the circulation in the Fingers. The disease may remain dormant for years. Then an attack may be brought on by infection, fatigue or nervous exhaustion; therefore, rest is essential. During an attack the fingers become cold and numb, deeply blue or white and blue. There may be perspiration around the four fingers (rarely the thumb). Warm rooms or warm water can help ease an attack. Tingling, throbbing and swelling are the after effects of an attack. The arteries eventually continue to constrict until all circulation has halted to the fingers, making them cold, painful and deformed. Gangrene may set in, necessitating amputation.
Raynaud's disease is sometimes blamed on nervousness, an individual's inability to relax and give the body downtime. Strong emotions constitute another reason for the disease. Smoking aggravates the condition because smoking causes vasoconstriction.
Besides Raynaud's disease Anne experienced a great deal of pain in the chest area: she wasn't sure whether she had heart problems or not. Menopause was making the Raynaud's disease worse. She had borne four children—in 1957, 1958, 1961 and 1964. As a youngster she had suffered from bouts with pneumonia and bronchitis. Chronic sinus infections have plagued her most of her life. In 1937 she had a tonsilectomy and in 1966 had surgery performed on the varicose veins of her left leg. She is a vegetarian and at one point in her life used to drink much milk. Today she does not smoke.
Was this article helpful?