If you live in a cold climate, then you know what it feels like to have your hands and feet turn cold and blue. In most cases, this is just a problem in extreme weather conditions, or when you forget to wear your gloves on a blustery winter day. However, a rare condition called Raynaud’s syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s disease or phenomenon, affects about 5 percent of the population. Raynaud’s syndrome occurs when the small arteries that carry blood to your fingers or toes become constricted. This constriction is called vasospasm. When it occurs, decreased blood flow to those areas causes the affected areas to become discolored, cold, and numb or tingly. Although Raynaud’s disease is most commonly noticed in the fingers, it can also occur in the toes. Even more rarely, Raynaud’s can affect the blood supply to the nose, ears, lips, and even nipples.
11. Symptoms of Raynaud’s
Raynaud’s attacks tend to occur when you are exposed to cold or stress. When Raynaud’s flares up, the affected areas of your fingers may first appear white in color. Next, they may turn blue and feel cold and numb. After you warm your hands up again, they may turn red and ache, throb or tingle. These attacks can last for less than one minute or up to several hours. They can occur daily, weekly, or be spread further apart. Raynaud’s may initially affect just one finger and then spread to other digits. An attack may affect one finger one day, and a different finger or area another day.
10. Primary Raynaud’s
Primary Raynaud’s syndrome is Raynaud’s that is not caused as a side effect of another disease. Those afflicted with primary Raynaud’s typically notice their first symptoms between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. The exact cause of primary Raynaud’s isn’t known, and cases tend to be less severe than cases of secondary Raynaud’s. Most people with primary Raynaud’s do not seek medical care for the discomforts of Raynaud’s and symptoms generally resolve on their own.