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: Dale, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 09

I just started having symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon in one finger. It started after wiping off my snowy windshield with very thin gloves. My middle finger turned white and I lost feeling in it. I put it under warm water for a few minutes and the color returned. Since then, same thing happens periodically, if my hands get a little cold. It's not very predictable, it doesn't happen every time they are cold. I have found that heating it slowly doesn't work well. But I have found massaging my finger works pretty fast. I hope this helps someone who may have similar symptoms. I have not been diagnosed or seen a doctor for this. It just started this past winter. I am 61 years old.

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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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