Raynaud's disease is an extremely rare condition that can easily be triggered in cooler weather and even cause numbness in one's fingers and toes.
Have you ever noticed your fingers or toes become pale (white or blue) when exposed to even slightly cold temperatures? Or maybe even a tingling sensation in the extremities of your body when stressed? If your answer is in the affirmative then chances are you may be showing symptoms of Raynaud's disease. It is an extremely rare condition that can easily be triggered in cooler weather and even cause numbness in one's fingers and toes. Raynaud's disease is a disorder that affects your blood vessels and can make them narrow due to stress or weather conditions. The narrowing of the vessels constricts blood flow to various parts of the body which in turn causes a tingling sensation at first followed by numbness.
I have this thing called Raynaud’s disease. This happens every time I get cold pic.twitter.com/2666kKEYnC— Mildly Interesting (@interestmild) September 24, 2021
Although the exact cause of the disease remains unknown, it has been determined that the blood vessels in the fingers and toes are the first to show the signs of low blood presence. Other body parts like the nose and lips can also be affected due to it. Cold temperature can most likely trigger an attack. Putting hands in cold water or taking something from a freezer could also be the likely triggers for an attack. Exposure to the sudden drop in temperature can make your toes and fingers go pale or blue in response. Even emotional stress has been recorded as a trigger.
Why have my toes turned red? https://t.co/l6TYIvo1Mm— Raynaud's Assn. (@raynaudsorg) January 27, 2020
Raynaud's phenomenon is one of the most common medical disorders - more prevalent than multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and leukemia combined - yet most people don't even know their pain has a name. #raynaudsaware https://t.co/LSATywZhEi https://t.co/LSATywZhEi— PRNhealth (@PRNhealth) September 28, 2021
Now the condition has been divided into two types- primary and secondary- based on its severity. In the case of primary Raynaud's disease, it's often not that severe and it has not been connected to any well-known medical condition. Those suffering from primary Raynaud's disease, which starts showing between the age of 15-30, are often unaware of it as it usually resolves itself with time. But the same cannot be said for the secondary Raynaud's disease which is also known as Raynaud's phenomenon. It is not only rarer but also tends to be more severe than the primary one.
Per Mayo Clinic, the symptoms for the secondary one start showing around the age of 40 and could be triggered due to many underlying health issues, including connective tissue disease, carpal tunnel syndrome, artery disease, etc. Additionally, even smoking can lead to the development of symptoms as it has a direct impact on restricting the blood flow to the tissues. Some occupations may also contribute to the development of the condition like working with jackhammers or other high-vibrational tools. Even medications involving beta-blockers can make you susceptible to it.
Research over the years has found that people living in colder climates are way more vulnerable to the disease than those living in warmer conditions. Moreover, if any immediate relative, parent, or siblings have the disease, the chances of you having it increase dramatically. Now it has been observed that women are nine times more likely affected by the condition than men, however, the exact reason behind this is yet to be found, according to Medical News Today. Raynaud’s syndrome affects 5 to 10% of Americans but only 1 in 10 seek medical treatment.
Currently, there is no cure for the phenomenon but there are ways to manage its symptoms. If you're suffering from a mild form of Raynaud’s disease then keeping your exposed skin covered before leaving the house can help prevent an attack from being triggered. In case an attack occurs, it's recommended to soak the affected part in warm water (not hot) to stop it from escalating any further. If the attacks are stress-induced, learning ways to manage stress could help as well. For moderate to severe cases, medication may be required. Treatment also depends on whether you have other health conditions. It would be best to consult a doctor if the symptoms worsen as they are better suited to treat your condition.
Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by Tamiko IhoriDisclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.