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Raynaud's is a condition that causes your hands and feet to overreact to cold. They may become painful and numb, and they can change colours, becoming very pale and then blue. This condition also is called Raynaud's phenomenon. There are two kinds of Raynaud's. Primary Raynaud's, also known as Raynaud's disease, happens by itself and is the most common form. Secondary Raynaud's, also called Raynaud's syndrome, happens as part of another disease.
In Raynaud's, the small vessels that bring blood to the skin either become narrow, or constrict for a short period of time. This limits blood flow to the hands and feet and sometimes to the nose or ears. Your hands and feet feel cold and numb and then turn very pale. As blood flow returns, your fingers and toes may turn red, and begin to throb and hurt. Raynaud's can be painful and annoying, but it usually does not cause serious problems.
You can take simple steps to protect your hands and feet from the cold. If you have a bad case of Raynaud's and you cannot keep your hands and feet warm enough, your doctor may prescribe medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: December 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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