Raynaud's disease

Raynaud's (ray-NOHZ) disease causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers and toes — to feel numb and cold in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas (vasospasm).

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.

Treatment of Raynaud's disease depends on its severity and whether you have other health conditions. For most people, Raynaud's disease isn't disabling, but can affect quality of life.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Signs and symptoms of Raynaud's depend on the frequency, duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder. Raynaud's disease signs and symptoms include:

  • Cold fingers or toes
  • Color changes in your skin in response to cold or stress
  • Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or stress relief

During an attack of Raynaud's, affected areas of your skin usually first turn white. Then, the affected areas often turn blue and feel cold and numb. As you warm and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. The order of the color changes isn't the same for everyone, and not everyone experiences all three colors.

Although Raynaud's most commonly affects your fingers and toes, the condition can also affect other areas of your body, such as your nose, lips, ears and even nipples. After warming, it may take 15 minutes for normal blood flow to return to the area.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor right away if you have a history of severe Raynaud's and develop a sore or infection in one of your affected fingers or toes.

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