Do your fingers or toes discolor after being in the cold or the heat? This is a condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon. It can also occur after a tense or emotional upset. This happens because the blood supply is in a diminished state due to spasms of the blood vessels. When blood supply starts to deplete you will notice your digits to turn white at first. After that a bluish coloration will occur. This is because there is no oxygen present. When the blood vessels do open back up again you will notice that they will turn red. The most common occurrence is due to cold exposure. Women are the most affected by Raynaud’s phenomenon. Alone, it is referred to as Raynaud’s disease, but if accompanied by a rheumatic disease it is known as secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon.
The medical profession is not sure as to its cause, but believes it to be due to nerve sensitivity. In its mildest form, there will be discoloration when the digits are exposed to the cold. A numbing or a tingling sensation may also be present, but will quickly go away when your digits return to their normal state. Sometimes this depleted oxygen supply can cause an ulceration to the tips of the digits although this is rare. When this happens infection will set in and a gangrenous condition may occur.
To prevent Raynaud’s phenomenon it is important to protect your body from any infections or cold. Wear gloves when going outside in the cold, be cautious when clipping your nails, reduce your stress level, and do not smoke. Tobacco smoke chemicals can cause the blood vessels to constrict. Medications may also be used. If your condition is severe a nerve surgery known as a sympathectomy may be performed. This surgery will cause an interruption of your sympathetic nerves.
Consult with your physician if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for more helpful suggestions in treating this condition.
Angel Lynn writes in weight loss, single parenting, and health