Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a condition that affects the blood vessels of the hands and feet and can occur either on its own (where it is called Raynaud’s Disease) or in association with another medical illness.
Raynaud’s Disease is a very common condition that affects 1 in 5 young women. It is triggered by cold and in such situations the blood vessels of the fingers, toes and sometimes the nose, close off in order to conserve body heat. In doing so, the lack of blood to the fingers makes them go white. After a period of no blood flow to the skin, carbon dioxide and other metabolites cause a forced opening of the blood vessels to the fingers and they become red. This is the typical colour change in Raynaud of white, blue then red. The forced opening of vessels can be painful.
If you think you have Raynaud’s Phenomenon, it may be as a result of an underlying or associated condition. However, in most cases there will be no underlying condition and treatment is to keep the hands warm. Hand warming gel packs are available as are heated gloves for people that suffer with it badly.
Very rarely, medications are needed in order to encourage the vessels to stay open.