When the smaller arteries of your body which is responsible for supplying blood to your skin shrink, it limits blood circulation in those areas. That causes the affected areas of your body – like your fingers or toes – to feel cold and numb. This is often experienced when your body is subjected to extremely cold temperatures or to stress. That particular condition is called the Raynaud’s disease.
It’s more often observed in women than in men, and are far more common in areas where there are colder climates than in the tropics. For most, this disease is tolerable at best, but destructive to one’s quality of life at worst.
What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?
How visible and constant the symptoms are depend the duration and frequency of exposure and the severity of the blood vessel spasms. Some of the symptoms are the following:
Cold fingers or toes
Stinging pain when you warm yourself, especially on your extremities
Numb and prickly feeling on your skin upon relieving stress, like getting a foot massage to relax.Changes in skin color when the it’s cold or you exert stress on it
There are also some changes that happen in stages, like before the finger or toes turn blue and numb, it turns white first. As you slowly infuse some warmth back to your body, you will notice the skin change to red. It will accompanied by this tingling or throbbing feeling and in some instances, your fingers and toes will swell. However, it is important to note that people do not go through the exact same changes. Others will go through all 3 colors, some just one.
Usually, Raynaud’s disease only affects your fingers and toes, but in some rare cases, it also affects ears, nose, nipples and lips. It should take at least 15 minutes of warming up to go back to normal. If you have a case of severe Raynaud’s disease, then see a physician right after a sore develops. That could quickly turn into an infection that spreads through your fingers and toes.
What are the causes of Raynaud’s disease?
There are a lot of speculations as to the different causes of Raynaud’s disease. The reason being is that doctors do not completely understand the nature of the condition yet. All they know is that the blood vessels in the hands and feet are overly sensitive to severely cold temperatures and stress.
What are the two kinds of Raynaud’s disease?
Raynaud’s disease has two variations: primary and secondary. The former is the disease’s most common form and is associated with the medical condition that incites vasospasm or the cutting off of blood circulation because the arteries shrunk.
The latter is caused by other underlying issues with arteries and is far less common than its counterpart. It also tends to be harder to treat and is a bit more a serious, especially in the manifestation of symptoms and how they affect the patient’s quality of life. This variation of the condition often appears later on in life, typically 40 and above.