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Signs and Symptoms of Raynaud's Disease | The Condition That Turns Your Fingers and Toes Blue and Numb

Signs and Symptoms of Raynaud's Disease | The Condition That Turns Your Fingers and Toes Blue and Numb

Women are more likely than men to have Raynaud's disease.

People react to cold in different ways. A few people will have extreme reactions to cold weather when their fingers and toes turn pale and numb. This can be all too sudden as well as their fingers and toes turn white or even a shade of blue in a matter of seconds. Some people experience such symptoms along with a weird tingling sensation, especially when they are in high-stress situations. If you have experienced any such symptoms, it is important to take note as it could be your body signaling you of an underlying condition. Raynaud's (pronounced 'ray-nose') disease is an extremely rare condition that is triggered in cooler temperatures causing numbness in certain parts of the body/

According to Mayoclinic, "In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm)." Further, the clinic notes that "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."

In simple terms, the cold limits or constricts blood circulation, leading to a tingling sensation followed by numbness. According to Medicinenet, "Raynaud's phenomenon occurs because of spasm of blood vessels." The discoloration of the affected body parts is also attributed to the constricted blood flow in those regions. 



 

In the absence of known cause, the symptoms need to be monitored to check for affliction. Usually, the fingers and the toes are the first to be affected, followed by lips, nose, and the tip of your ears. Even the simplest things like putting your hand inside the freezer to retrieve food or being out in the cold for a few minutes can cause a flare-up. Interestingly, emotional stress is also found to be one of the triggers for this condition. 

Raynaud's condition has been observed to have two types: primary and secondary. The primary Raynaud's disease is often not so severe, easier to manage. So far, it has not been associated with a well-known medical condition. The symptoms and the aftereffects of the primary Raynaud's disease often resolve on its own, requiring no medical attention.

The secondary Raynaud's condition is called Raynaud's phenomenon. It is even rarer than the first kind, and its effects can be severe.  The symptoms of this condition appear later in life, as compared to the primary form.

According to Mayo Clinic, there are certain factors that may increase the chances of contracting the Raynaud's phenomenon. They include connective tissue diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.), arterial diseases (atherosclerosis, Buerger's disease, etc.), smoking, carpal tunnel syndrome, exposure to repetitive vibrations (working with jackhammers), and certain medication that may act as beta-blockers.

In case of extreme severity, the constricted flow of blood to your extremities can cause permanent tissue damage. Mayoclinic explains how "a completely blocked artery can lead to sores (skin ulcers) or dead tissue (gangrene), both of which can be difficult to treat. Rarely, extreme untreated cases might require removing the affected part of your body (amputation)."



 

According to a report in the Huffington Post, "The condition cannot be cured, so the main method of treatment for primary Raynaud’s disease is to maintain body warmth, avoiding any provoking factors where possible, wearing gloves (or using hand warmers), stopping any medication which constricts your blood vessels (where safe to do so—consult with your GP first), and avoiding or stopping smoking."

The best option for people suffering from the primary condition is to take precautions and be prepared for any change in temperature at all times. Since the onset of symptoms can be sudden and there could be some pain as well, it is best to identify your primary triggers and ensure a safe distance from them. For people with the secondary condition, immediate consultation with their physicians is a must. It is important to understand the underlying cause behind the secondary form before any kind of treatment is prescribed. Self-care is important for everyone showing symptoms of this condition. 

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/raynauds-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20363571

https://www.medicinenet.com/raynauds_phenomenon/article.htm#what_is_raynaud#39s_phenomenon

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

Disclaimer : 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.

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