Raynaud’s disease causes some areas of the body to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. A person with Raynaud’s disease experiences pain in the extremities, such as, the fingers, when temperatures drop.
In Raynaud’s disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm). Fingers or toes turn from white to blue and, then, as the blood returns, they flush.
Women are more likely than men to have Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud or Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome. It appears to be more common in people who live in colder climates.
Signs and symptoms of Raynaud’s disease include:
• Cold fingers or toes
• Color changes in the skin in response to cold or stress
• Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or stress relief
Risk factors for primary Raynaud’s include:
• Sex. More women than men are affected.
• Age. Although anyone can develop the condition, primary Raynaud’s often begins between the ages of fifteen(15) and thirty (30).
• Climate. The disorder is also more common in people who live in colder climates.
• Family history. A first-degree relative such as a parent, sibling or child having the disease appears to increase one’s risk of primary Raynaud’s.
What causes Raynaud’s phenomenon?
The exact cause of Raynaud’s is unknown. It is possible that some blood disorders may cause Raynaud’s by increasing the blood thickness. This may happen due to excess platelets or red blood cells. Or special receptors in the blood that control the narrowing of the blood vessels may be more sensitive.
How is Raynaud’s phenomenon treated?
Treatment will depend on the individual’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. There is no cure for Raynaud’s phenomenon, but it can be managed with non-drug treatment. Below are some listed non-drug treatment that help decrease the severity of a Raynaud’s attack as well as promote overall well-being.
• Avoid exposure to cold
• Keep warm with gloves, socks, scarf, and a hat
• Quit smoking
• Wear finger guards over fingers with sores
• Avoiding trauma or vibrations to the hand (such as with vibrating tools)
• Take blood pressure medicines to help reduce constriction of the blood vessels
1. Mayo Clinic. Raynaud’s disease. Available at https://mayoclinic.org
2. John Hopkins. Raynaud’s phenomenon. Available at https://Hopkinsmedicine.org
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