What Is Raynaud’s Phenomenon?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that causes a reduction in blood supply to the outer parts of the body, including the fingers. It can happen in cold or stressful situations. It can also occur as a result of using hand-held vibrating tools.

During an attack of Raynaud’s, the fingers can change color. They may first go white or look waxy. They can then go blue, and possibly even purple or black in severe cases. They are then likely to go red, and can be painful, tingly and numb when the blood rushes back.

Prevention of Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Keeping warm in cold weather can help reduce the chances of an attack of Raynaud’s. Wearing several layers of clothing, as well as a hat, scarf and gloves will help. Reusable or disposable hand warmers and heated gloves can help.

It’s good to keep the skin of your fingers as healthy as possible by using a moisturizer at least once or twice a day. Your pharmacist will be able to tell you which ones are good for people with Raynaud’s. Exercising regularly is also good for your circulation.

Smoking is very bad for your circulation and can make Raynaud’s much worse. If you smoke, quitting can be the best thing you do. Your GP will be able to offer advice and support, and there’s useful information on the NHS Smokefree website.

Treatments of Raynaud’s Phenomenon

There are drugs available, such as nifedipine, which can improve your blood flow. These will need to be prescribed by a doctor.