About This Condition
Raynaud’s disease is a condition caused by constriction and spasms of small arteries, primarily in the hands after exposure to cold. Frequently, white or bluish discoloration of the hands (and sometimes toes, cheeks, nose, or ears) will occur after exposure to cold or emotional stress.
The cause of Raynaud’s disease is unknown. A condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon causes similar symptoms, but it is the result of connective tissue disease or exposure to certain chemicals. The same natural remedies are used to treat both disorders.
Fingers (generally not the thumb) or other affected parts of the body may feel numb or cold during an episode, and later, after warming, may become bright red with a throbbing painful sensation.
In severe cases, sympathectomy (surgical interruption of sympathetic nerve pathways) may be recommended. People with Raynaud’s disease are commonly advised to dress warmly during the winter and to avoid tobacco use and unnecessary exposure to cold, especially of the affected parts.