Raynaud syndrome is also known as Raynaud's disease or Raynaud's phenomenon. It’s a rare condition that affects the blood vessels in the fingers and toes. When a person with Raynaud syndrome is cold or stressed the blood vessels in the hands and feet start to narrow. This prevents blood from circulating to the surface of the fingers or toes.1 Because the blood can’t circulate, the fingers or toes turn white or blue and eventually red as blood flow returns. Raynaud syndrome in feet and hands can be painful as the toes or fingers either turn numb or tingly and begin to throb.
The condition is characterized by attacks, whereby Raynaud syndrome symptoms can come on suddenly, last for some time, and then disappear.1 Raynaud syndrome more commonly affects people living in colder climates. It is more common in women than in men and in people over the age of 30. It also affects people with a family history of Raynaud syndrome.1 2 Raynaud syndrome isn’t usually a serious condition but rather an inconvenience that can affect quality of life.2
It’s not entirely known what are the Raynaud syndrome causes. What researchers do know is that Raynaud syndrome causes the blood vessels on the hands and feet to over-respond when faced with cold temperatures or heightened stress levels.3 The blood vessels respond by going into a state of spasm, which is what causes a tingling sensation. As a person with Raynaud syndrome experiences more and more attacks over time, it causes the blood vessels to thicken, which further prevents blood circulation.3 This condition is categorized in two types each with their own possible Raynaud syndrome causes:3
Raynaud syndrome symptoms affect differently people in frequency and duration of attacks. The primary Raynaud syndrome symptoms in the feet and hands include:
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