Flammer Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Flammer Syndrome

A group of vascular and non-vascular symptoms is summarized under Flammer syndrome . These are caused by the dysregulation of blood flow and an increased sensitivity of the patient to various stimuli.

What is Flammer Syndrome?

Flammer syndrome describes a variety of symptoms that are primarily caused by primary vascular dysfunction (PVD). The cause of this PVD is an innate increased sensitivity of the blood vessels to external stimuli such as cold or stress . The vascular dysregulations are accompanied by non-vascular symptoms.

Perceptions such as smells, pain or vibrations can be increased by the increased sensitivity. Outwardly, Flammer syndrome is sometimes understood as the counterpart to metabolic syndrome . Patients often appear slim, athletic, and agile.

The causes for the occurrence of the syndrome are not clearly clarified, but seem to be hereditary predisposed. The syndrome is accompanied by some unfavorable symptoms such as low blood pressure and can thus promote the development of various diseases. It has therefore been understood as a risk factor for diseases such as normal pressure glaucoma since 2013 .


The cause of the symptoms summarized under the name of Flammer syndrome is a congenital increased sensitivity of the affected person, which on the one hand refers to the perception of external stimuli, but is particularly characterized by a dysregulation of the blood vessels. The primary vascular dysfunction manifests itself on the one hand by spasms of the vessels.

On the other hand, through an inadequately strong or weak dilatation of the blood vessels in response to stimulation. The cause of the hypersensitivity is probably hereditary, a frequent occurrence of the syndrome in the family history has been observed. Women are affected more often than men and there is evidence of a hormonal connection.

The symptoms increase during puberty and decrease again in old age, especially after the menopause . Lack of exposure to light is considered a risk factor, since Flammer syndrome is less common among professionals who work outdoors. Affected people are often underweight.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The symptoms of Flammer syndrome are significantly influenced by the circulatory disorders . Classically, it comes to cold hands and feet. The people affected suffer from low blood pressure and often an inhomogeneity of the skin temperature, which becomes noticeable in the form of white or red spots when aroused.

There may be a drop in blood pressure at night. Consecutive symptoms are often tinnitus , migraines or dizziness , as well as nocturnal myocardial circulatory disorders or muscle cramps in general. In Flammer syndrome, the vascular-related symptoms are typically accompanied by a large number of non-specific symptoms.

The people affected often complain about problems falling asleep or have a reduced feeling of thirst. There may also be sensitivity to medication, smells, pain or vibrations. Sensitivity to the weather or the greater susceptibility to altitude sickness have also been described. People affected by Flammer syndrome are often conspicuous for their conscientiousness, which borders on perfectionism.

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of Flammer syndrome is primarily based on a medical history. In addition, a nail-fold capillary microscopy can be performed, in which small bleeding occurs on the fingertips due to the effects of cold. Thermography of the extremities can provide information about disturbed blood circulation.

Retinal vein pressure or endothelin levels are rarely measured. The quantification of the gene expression of the lymphocytes or a dynamic vessel analysis are only used for confirmation in special cases. There are some typical changes in the diseased eye that speak in favor of Flammer syndrome as the cause.

These include reduced autoregulation of blood flow and changes in the diameter and flexibility of the retinal blood vessels. People who are affected by Flammer syndrome are not considered to be ill and do not necessarily have to suffer from secondary diseases. There is even a lower risk of developing arteriosclerosis .

People often suffer from side effects such as migraines , tinnitus or muscle tension . The risk of Flammer syndrome is the likelihood of developing eye diseases. The most common associated disease is normal tension glaucoma.


There are many different complications associated with Flammer syndrome. In general, the affected person reacts very strongly to external stimuli, which restricts everyday life. Cold extremities and low blood pressure occur. The overall body temperature and skin temperature are also lower.

Red spots appear on the body in stressful situations or physical exertion. These can lead to problems, especially in the face, since the patients feel disfigured. In addition to the spots, there is also tinnitus . This causes insomnia and problems concentrating.

The affected person also develops a strong sensitivity to the weather, so that even small fluctuations in air pressure can lead to earaches or headaches. These complications can be treated well. In most cases, changing your lifestyle and diet helps. Relaxation exercises and yoga also help. If stress causes Flammer syndrome, antioxidants can be helpful and relieve symptoms.

These are mainly contained in various juices. Treatment with medication does not take place directly. However, omega-3 fatty acids can promote blood circulation. Magnesium also has a positive effect on blood circulation and can be taken in the form of tablets. There are no further complications caused by Flammer syndrome.

When should you go to the doctor?

Since Flammer syndrome does not heal itself and in most cases the symptoms worsen, a doctor must always be consulted. The doctor should be consulted if the person concerned suffers from circulatory disorders.

These can show up as low blood pressure or parts of the body that are too cold or too warm. Red spots on the skin can also indicate Flammer syndrome. Patients also often suffer from tinnitus or severe headaches and migraines. Muscle cramps also very often indicate Flammer syndrome and must be examined.

Most patients are very sensitive to weather changes and also suffer from dizziness or difficulty sleeping. If these symptoms persist over a longer period of time and without any particular reason, a doctor must always be consulted. Tension in the muscles can also indicate the disease.

Treatment is provided by a general practitioner and involves various therapies and exercises. As a rule, the symptoms of Flammer syndrome can be limited very well in this way. However, treatment is only necessary if the symptoms significantly restrict the patient’s everyday life and reduce their quality of life.

Treatment & Therapy

Flammer syndrome is usually associated with harmless symptoms. Treatment only becomes necessary when the patient’s quality of life suffers or when secondary diseases occur. Classically, therapy is based on changes in lifestyle and diet, as well as drug intervention.

Triggering factors such as cold or vasoconstrictive factors should be avoided. Stress can be counteracted with autogenic training or yoga . A healthy sleep pattern and regular, light exercise can alleviate symptoms. A low BMI is considered a risk factor for Flammer syndrome.

Affected people should therefore strive for a healthy normal weight and keep it as constant as possible. Prolonged abstinence from food such as fasting cures are contraindicated. If you have low blood pressure, increasing your intake of salt and fluids helps. The increased oxidative stress caused by the circulatory disorder must be counteracted by a diet rich in antioxidants .

Omega-3 fatty acids strengthen blood vessel function and health. The circulatory disorder can be alleviated medicinally by taking magnesium . Ginko bilboa has also proven to be effective. If normal-tension glaucoma is already present, the patient’s blood pressure needs to be adjusted in addition to glaucoma therapy. Above all, the nocturnal drop in blood pressure should be prevented with dietary measures or low-dose steroids .

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis of Flammer syndrome is usually very good. It often has no disease value at all. Only the increased sensitivity to cold, the occurrence of cold feet and hands and the low blood pressure are perceived as disturbing. Due to the low blood pressure, there is even a reduced probability of developing certain diseases such as arteriosclerosis or cardiovascular diseases.

However, there is a higher risk of developing normal tension glaucoma. Normal- tension glaucoma is characterized by glaucoma damage occurring despite normal intraocular pressure Patients with this disease usually also suffer from Flammer syndrome. However, the eye disease is caused by increased pressure in the veins of the retina.

If normal-tension glaucoma is not treated, there is increasing damage to the optic nerve with the development of visual impairment and visual field defects. Vein blockages in the eyes can also lead to other eye diseases. In severe cases there is a risk of total blindness.

Sometimes Flammer syndrome also leads to sudden hearing loss or tinnitus . It is not uncommon for migraine-like headaches to occur. A possible connection between Flammer syndrome and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis or breast cancer is currently being investigated in studies, but has not yet been proven. The symptoms of the disease can be alleviated by a lifestyle with plenty of exercise, a balanced diet with an increased supply of omega-3 fatty acids, increased fluid and salt intake and possibly also by blood pressure regulating medication.


The development of Flammer syndrome can be counteracted symptomatically. It is important to protect against triggering factors such as cold or stress. A healthy lifestyle with a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Red and blue fruits, vegetables such as tomatoes and kale, but also drinks such as green tea or coffee are considered foods with high antioxidant potential. Oily fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.


In the case of Flammer syndrome, the options for aftercare are very limited in most cases. The person concerned is first dependent on correct medical treatment by a doctor in order to prevent further complications and, in the worst case, to prevent the person concerned from dying. The earlier Flammer syndrome is detected, the better the further course of this disease.

For this reason, a doctor should be consulted at the first signs and symptoms of Flammer syndrome. The syndrome is usually treated with the help of various relaxation exercises or yoga. Many exercises from such therapies can also be done at home, which may accelerate healing.

A healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet can also have a positive effect on the course of Flammer syndrome and prevent further complications. The affected person should take plenty of antioxidants and avoid smoking or alcohol if possible. Care and support from family and friends can also have a very positive effect on Flammer syndrome. In some cases, contact with other people affected by the syndrome can also be helpful and useful.

You can do that yourself

In many cases, the person affected can counteract the symptoms of Flammer syndrome themselves and thus avoid complications. As a rule, a healthy lifestyle has a very positive effect on the course of the disease and on the symptoms.

This includes a healthy diet and regular physical activity. However, the symptoms can be limited relatively well by yoga or other relaxation techniques . Above all, light and relaxing sports of your own are used to combat Flammer syndrome. Furthermore, a BMI factor that is too low should be avoided in this syndrome. For this reason, those affected should pay attention to their diet and avoid being underweight at all costs. It is also important to avoid stress .

When it comes to nutrition, antioxidants have a very positive effect on the course of Flammer syndrome. The intake of magnesium can reduce the circulatory disorders well. However, if self-help measures are not able to eliminate the symptoms, the person concerned should also resort to medication. Discussing the disease with friends or acquaintances can also help to prevent the development of mental health problems or depression.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.