Raynaud's Phenomenon - Describe Your Experience

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What is Raynaud's phenomenon?

Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) is a condition resulting in a particular series of discolorations of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature (cold or hot) or emotional events. Skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissues. Initially, the digit(s) involved turn white because of the diminished blood supply. The digit(s) then turn blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen. Finally, the blood vessels reopen, causing a local "flushing" phenomenon, which turns the digit(s) red. This three-phase color sequence (white to blue to red), most often upon exposure to cold temperature, is characteristic of RP.

Raynaud's phenomenon most frequently affects women, especially in the second, third, or fourth decades of life. People can have Raynaud's phenomenon alone or as a part of other rheumatic diseases. Raynaud's phenomenon in children is essentially identical to Raynaud's phenomenon in adults. When it occurs alone, it is referred to as "Raynaud's disease" or primary Raynaud's phenomenon. When it accompanies other diseases, it is called secondary Raynaud's phenomenon.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: trixie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 19

I was diagnosed with Raynaud's phenomenon 4 years ago. Months earlier I was diagnosed with ulnar nerve damage. The two have similar symptoms, pain, numbness and tingling running down my arms. I work as a bartender and it adversely affects my job. My hands are constantly exposed to cold temperatures. I'm handling chilled glasses, cold beverages all day long. I try to keep a mug of hot water close by at all times to warm up my hands. I wear wool socks 12 months a year to try to keep warm. It is painful and depressing. I can't feel my feet when I walk, I feel like a trip hazard. I am looking into nifedipine because it is affecting me in summer months as well.

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Comment from: Rynda, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I rarely had any symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon before pregnancy, and it was at its worst after my second child was born. I would often have symptoms any time a cool breeze hit me or I walked into the grocery store, or have a chill for whatever reason. I might have two months out of the summer that I would have no symptoms. At the same time I was dealing with bad varicose veins, one of which was ulcerating for two years. After I had that vein removed, in order to correct the ulceration, I noticed a marked decrease of symptoms. I have not had any symptoms during the six warmest months of the year and only two months of the winter have I experienced frequent episodes. I still have significant varicose veins which may be why I still have issues, but I am thankful that they are greatly reduced.

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