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Raynaud's Disease

The Chill Factor: Raynaud's Disease

I was teaching a yoga class the other day, and when this woman took off her socks before class, her friend said, "What's up with your toes?" Her big toe and the toe next to it were completely whitish-green, and the others looked normal. She told us she had something called Raynaud's disease. It's a condition that most commonly affects your fingers and toes but can also affect your nose or ears. It makes them become numb and feel cool, and it's a response to cold temperatures or stress. It's really common in women and in people who live in colder climates.

It's not the same as frostbite, which happens when your tissues freeze and can permanently damage the affected area. With Raynaud's disease, arteries to your fingers and toes go into what's called a vasospasm, which constricts the blood vessels and temporarily limits the blood supply to those areas, causing them to turn pale. Once the spasms stop, the area may turn red, but then goes back to its normal coloring.

This condition may occur alone or may be caused by something else, such as lupus, arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, thyroid disorders, genetics, or smoking. If you think you may have Raynaud's disease, make an appointment with your doctor to have it checked out.


Join The Conversation
BernieKarr BernieKarr 8 years
You can get more information about Raynauds from: My condition is at the early stages and I use infrared heat to keep blood circulating. It's quite therapeutic. You can find Occupational Therapy aids for cold hand therapy at: Or, you can contact the Raynaud's Association and they will help you in any way possible. Raynaud's Association, Inc. 94 Mercer Ave. Hartsdale, NY 10530 800-280-8055 or inside New York 914-946-5808
kscincotta kscincotta 9 years
Huh. I just thought my toes got cold and went all white on me. Apparently this is something I should have checked out? Because I've just dealt with it for like the last 15 years or so.
kbrooks7 kbrooks7 9 years
I have this too..i glad more and more women are starting to learn about it bc it primarily effects them. my toes and fingers turn purple..not pretty. i'm from the midwest so i have to wear like 3 pairs of socks and gloves..indoors! stay warm!
bisou002 bisou002 9 years
i have raynaud's- relatively badly, too. i can be indoors, in socks, under a blanket, and still unable to feel my toes. it's HORRIBLE. and it happens in the summer, as well. really stinks to be at the beach, standing up to your ankles in the cold ocean water, completely numb. my doctor said i could take calcium channel blockers to help, but they lower your blood pressure. i already have low blood pressure, so i can't take them. :-P
nancita nancita 9 years
I totally have this! and I never knew what it was. Thank you for enlightening me.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
I have it-- its the worst when its like 50 degrees and humid. Odd huh?? I noticed that even when I dress REALLY warm its still not necessarily going to stop the white numbness in my fingers and toes. I have it, my brother has it, my mom has it, my grandpa has. My sister does not for some odd reason.
georgie2 georgie2 9 years
Oh my two middle toes always goes white, but i thought it was poor circulation... and it's never stopped me from doing anything... that few times. I think i should speak to my doctor next time I go in. Hmm...
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
I went to a doctor for arthritic symptoms when I was 18, and he ran some tests and said I have Raynauds... along with some arthritis. I must not have it very badly though, because I can stand to ski for a couple of hours at a time, but I do live in Southern Florida so I don't have to worry about it too often! Magita, I can't hold cold things for very long either!
ehcarpenter ehcarpenter 9 years
I have that disease! I justtt looked up my symptoms last month cuz i noticed when i run they'll go numb and its hard to keep my footing correct.. Its scarey cuz all of a sudden my fingertips are white and numb.. i thot it was something horrible but doc said its just that dang Raynaud's!
nikegranada nikegranada 9 years
I can't believe this is a real disease... my middle fingers get cold and turn white just like in the picture, and I never thought that it was a real condition. And I also can't believe that so many other people have it. :(
kaydee1960 kaydee1960 9 years
I have been diagnosed with Raynaud's and that was the whole conversation with my Doctor. My family call me the blue footed booby. Not nice but true. I also have a thyroid disorder and Fibromyalgia. So, Raynaud's is the least of my problems.
magita magita 9 years
That looks like my hands! I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with Raynaud's...(well, not really GLAD I guess..) people look at me like I'm crazy because I'm always wearing gloves and even long sleeves in the summer. I can't even hold a cold can of coke very long because it's painful to hold on to and it makes my fingers go white. When it first started happening it freaked me out, but now that I know what it is, its painful and annoying, but all things considered, not the worst hand I could be dealt. You just deal with it..
gansett gansett 9 years
I have it. My fingers are typically orange and my hands are purple when the temperature is below seventy degrees. At the gym last week, my sister looked at my hands and they were the absolutely most bizarre shade of blue ever! Even I got a bit freaked. I actually had to leave work one day when the heat cut out because I was in so much pain. Raynaud's is not a fun thing. At. All.
druiaen druiaen 9 years
I was diagnosed with the disease more than 15 years ago. It's hereditary, and I got it from my mom. It's not pleasant, and the most you can do is learn to live with it and work around it. There are a few treatment options if it's very severe, but I haven't explored any yet. I had a similar story a few weeks ago, though, when I was standing in my kitchen barefoot and my husband said, "What the heck is wrong with your feet! They shouldn't be that color!"
emalove emalove 9 years
My sister AND my mother have Raynaud's.
graldi19 graldi19 9 years
i have this :(
Merlin713 Merlin713 9 years
Great. I most likely have this. Describes me perfectly. :(
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Whoa. :(
indreams8318 indreams8318 9 years
a guy i work with has this. he says the hardest part is that he cant join his friends for ski trips etc. but he says the best part is that he has to live where its warm!
Jessamae22 Jessamae22 9 years
My mom has this condition and since we live in Ohio, it can be pretty difficult....She actually got frostbite on her toes last March from just walking around outside during a very cold day (wearing boots and socks, nonetheless)! She has had to get special gloves, boots, socks, etc. I feel so bad for her:(
Sydney-C Sydney-C 9 years
My mom and I both have this condition. I had never even heard of it until I was at a doctor's appointment for something completely unrelated and he noticed that my hands and feet were red and white and splotchy and freezing when the room wasn't that even that cold. He referred me to a rheumatologist who confirmed the diagnosis and basically told me my only option was to take a low blood pressure med or just wear gloves. I opted for the latter lol.
fireannach fireannach 9 years
my old friend that i lived with in college had this, even though he's from southern california, not the coldest place in the world. he always wore gloves, a scarf, and a beanie, almost every day i think.
karlorene karlorene 9 years
hmm... there is a possibility for me. unless my fingers, nose, and toes just never get warm ahah
juju4 juju4 9 years
Wow, I think I might have this!! When I get very cold, my two middle toes on my right foot will turn white on the ends and get kind of numb. I had no idea it was a condition with a name!
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