Saturday, November 18, 2023

Genes linked to Raynaud's Phenomenon

     Raynaud's phenomenon is a rare condition when fingers and toes go numb, get cold, and turn a different color. This is due to the blood vessels constricting and scientists have found that this condition is triggered by two gene variants. Raynaud's phenomenon happens when a person feels cold or stressed. This conditions causes the skin to turn white or blue, then red. Not many people are affected as it only affects 2 to 5% of the population and it is mostly seen in women. Raynaud's phenomenon is most often diagnosed in people in their 20's. There are drugs for this, like the antidepressant Remeron, but the side effects for most medications include dizziness and headaches due to the drop in blood pressure. Scientists found that one gene variant in particular affects the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels which is why this occurs. This variant also controls the receptors for releasing hormones when the body is cold or stressed.

     This really sparked my interest because I am a woman. This is something I've never heard of and found that this condition is rare but happens to affect people like me. But a question I have to ask is, why does it mostly happen to women out of the 2-5% that have this condition? Are there factors that make this condition lean more towards the female sex? After doing a little bit of research, I found that the exact cause is unknown, however, genes play a role in the development of this condition as well as estrogen. The higher the estrogen levels, the more likely it is to cause someone to have Raynaud's phenomenon. Even though estrogen levels are tied to this condition, the newly discovered gene variants are the most probable cause behind this phenomenon.


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