Health Watch: Cold Hands Treatment

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With these bitter temperatures, many of us have cold hands. But for some, it can be especially uncomfortable and potentially, a sign that something is wrong.

It’s tough to stay warm in bone chilling weather. But some people have cold hands all the time and that could mean a number of medical issues, including one that’s being treated with Botox and Viagra of all things.

“If it takes more than 20 minutes to warm your hands then there is a problem,” said Dr. Nadera Sweiss, a rheumatologist.

Cold hands can be a warning sign of many conditions from heart or thyroid disease, to auto-immune problems. They can even be a side effect of decongestants. Other symptoms to watch for include color changes in your fingers, especially white or blue, numbness or tingling and even pain.

Sarah Lindeman has Raynaud’s Syndrome. It’s one of the most common causes of cold hands. It affects the flow of blood to the fingers.

“For me it started in one finger that turned purple and kind of remained purple for a while. It was colder to the touch than my other fingers,” said Sarah.

The unlikely Raynaud’s treatment is a combination of Viagra and Botox, and work mainly on blood flow.

“We give the patients those medications we’re trying to overall increase the blood flow to their hands,” said Dr. Genard Henry, a surgeon.

Diana Merz has had Raynaud’s for 30 years. She says every year the symptoms get progressively worse, and she avoids going out in the winter.

“I experience a lot of pain and burning and tingling. I’m right handed and the circulation in my right hand is worse. So it’s affected my ability, ya know to do small hand tasks,” said Diana.

Watch the video…

At her first Botox treatment, within minutes of the injections, it was amazing to see Diana’s fingers lose the shade of blue, and slowly return to pink.

“I’m surprised at the color coming back so quickly. The tingling in my middle finger in my right hand, which was always there, is gone,” said Diana.

Botox also helps relieve the pain that often comes with attacks of Raynaud’s. The syndrome can also affect the toes, nose and ears. It’s traditionally treated with drugs that relax blood vessels.

Reported By Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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One Comment

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  2. stephanie stahl says:

    Botox and Viagra are being used off label, meaning these products are not approved for use in people with Raynaud’s Syndrome. That said there is a trial happening in Atlanta.
    Here is the information-\
    We checked around with some area hospitals, and did not find any doctors who use the treatments here. I suggest talking to your doctor about the potential treatments.

  3. Aimee Komada-Donahue says:

    Can’t wait to get to my dr to see where I can get this done! I have had Raynards for yrs and may above it has gotten worse over the yrs. Winter is terrible for me. I have purchased every kind of glove you can imagine none work and surprisingly sometimes no gloves are better than wearing them don’t understand that one. So nice to seeothers w this problem I don’t personally know anyone w it. Myfriends and family are used to my purple fingers after I’ve been outside but it’s embarrassing when I have to pay for something w purple fingers. I really hope it works for me and all others who suffer from this!!

  4. Jim Thompson says:

    My daughter has Raynauds and since moving to Florida the warmer climate has helped to eliminate the symptons

  5. Irma Spector says:

    My daughter has Raynaud’s and I would like to answer to the same questions as Winter Blues. How long is it effective? Does insurance cover it? How much does it cost?

  6. Carole Lear Israel says:

    i have had Raynauds as long as I can remember and I’m 64 years old. My hands look like the one in the photo, and winter, of course, is my enemy. I am also on an oral medication that does nothing. Cold is cold, and to date I have had no relief. I would be thrilled to have a treatment that would help me deal effectively with this problem.

  7. Winter Blues says:

    I have Raynauds in both hands which have become progressively worse each year resulting in digital ulcers and calloused finger tips. My nail tips and skin separate to cause much pain and limit the use of my hands During the cold months, I take oral medication called a calcium channel blocker that dialates the blood vessels to allow better blood flow. My doctor suggested Viagra but I’d rather try another treatment. Botox sounds promising. Where is the botox administered in the hands and how long is it effective? Does insurance cover the treatment? How much does it cost?

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