Raynaud's is a very rare disorder that affects one's arteries, or blood vessels. These blood vessels carry blood from one end of the body to the other, and all places in between. In individuals who suffer from Raynaud's disease, or Raynaud's phenomenon, the blood vessels experience a vasospasm (in laymen's terms, it means that the blood vessels are narrowed). When blood vessels narrow, there is a reduction of blood flow to a person's toes and fingers (the phenomenon is primarily seen in the fingers). In about 40% of individuals with Raynaud's affected areas can include the toes, nose, nipples, lips, and ears.
Raynaud's is categorized into two main types: primary and secondary.
The Primary type is known as Raynaud's disease. The cause of this disease is unknown, but it is not as severe as secondary Raynaud's.
Secondary Raynaud's is known as Raynaud's phenomenon. It is caused by other factors or underlying diseases.
Whether you fall under primary or secondary Raynaud's, both types experience the same unpleasant symptoms.
When a person with Raynaud's experiences cold temperatures or stress, hardly any blood flow goes to the affected areas. Because of the lack of blood flow, the skin might turn white, and then turn blue temporarily. When blood flow resumes, a person may experience numbness, tingling, and burning sensations.
Individuals have been known to get a Raynaud's attack just by opening and closing the freezer door.
Treatment for this phenomenon depends on how severe the disease is. If an individual has primary Raynaud's, mild lifestyle changes should keep the symptoms at bay. If you have secondary Raynaud's, the symptoms may become difficult to manage. Physicians may choose to focus their treatment on the underlying illness that is causing Raynaud's.
My Two Cents:
My Rheumatologist diagnosed me with Raynaud's Phenomenon in 2016. Life gets somewhat challenging during the winter months, but if I wear heavy gloves, I can keep the attacks at bay. I do get attacks when I do the dishes, which I find to be odd, LOL! I will notice that the upper part of one finger would be bright white, and the lower half would be purplish/red. The areas would become very painful and tingly. I used to experience countless attacks throughout my previous relationship. I've probably had one or two attacks since this season started, which is a record low in my book. As mentioned above, stress is one of the major triggers of an attack. There are several things that I do to keep my stress at bay. Mindfulness meditation is one of them.
If you have Raynaud's, you have to keep your stress low. Go for a walk (bundle up of course), listen to music, play with your kids or furbabies, drink tea, meditate, paint, etc. Do whatever you can to keep those attacks from coming.