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: SAS, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 20

I developed Raynaud's phenomenon about 2 1/2 years ago when I was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disorder. I just wanted to say to those of you who live in the Northern states, I live in Texas and it doesn't make much difference. I have never taken a medication specifically for the Raynaud's because of some of the side effects. I have tried the things others have mentioned when it gets bad like the heating pads in my gloves, waving my hands/arms around like a plane getting ready to take off; it's just super annoying. I've noticed mine will flare in the mornings when I get up from the warm bed to a room that's just normal temperature. The worst is when I'm trying to fix a meal and have to handle cold meat or fresh vegetables. I try to avoid holding a glass with a cold drink without a protector around the glass. When I go to restaurants now I just ask for water with no ice.

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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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