If your fingers, toes, nose, or ears become painful and turn white when exposed to cold temperatures, you might be suffering from Raynaud’s. Raynaud’s disease is an over-reactive response to cold. For most people, it isn’t a serious health problem, but for some, the reduced blood flow can cause permanent damage.
When it’s cold, your body tries to conserve heat. One way to do this is to slow down blood flow to the areas farthest from your heart and move it to your core. To do that, the network of small arteries that carry blood to your extremities gets narrower, moving them away from your skin. Unfortunately, when that happens, our hands, fingers, toes, nose, and ears all suffer. They will turn white, as many of us have probably experienced many times before while outside during colder temperatures or winter. For the average person, after they get inside and put their hands under warm water or warm by the fire, the color in their hands will come back quickly and they feel back to normal.
If you have Raynaud’s, your response is off. Those arteries shrink more than normal, and faster than normal. Typically, the affected area turns white, then blue, then bright red over the course of the attack. There may also be some tingling, numbing, or painful throbbing to your extremities. This usually lasts about 15 minutes but in some cases, can take hours to return to normal. Once the arteries relax and your body warms back up, your fingers feel tingly and turn red before returning to normal.
• Being outside in the cold weather
• Picking up a cold drink
• Handling frozen foods
• Placing your hands or feet in cold water
If you or someone you love has Raynaud’s Disease, please come see us at Trillium Creek Dermatology and we can help you to schedule an appointment. Give us a call at 330.725.0569.