Raynaud's disease causes the blood vessels to narrow when you are cold or feeling stressed. When this happens, blood can't get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue. When the blood flow returns, the skin turns red and throbs or tingles. In severe cases, loss of blood flow can cause sores or tissue death.
Primary Raynaud's happens on its own. The cause is not known. There is also secondary Raynaud's, which is caused by injuries, other diseases or certain medicines.
People in colder climates are more likely to develop Raynaud's. It is also more common in women, people with a family history and those over age 30.
Treatment for Raynaud's may include drugs to keep the blood vessels open. There are also simple things you can do yourself, such as:
- Soaking hands in warm water at the first sign of an attack
- Keeping your hands and feet warm in cold weather
- Avoiding triggers, such as certain medicines and stress
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute