Purple Hands: Raynaudís Symptoms
Monday, 28 September 2015 | John
Purple hands are a common symptom of a severe case of Raynaud’s Disease (also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, Raynaud’s syndrome or simply Raynaud’s). Raynaud’s disease is where blood vessels in the extremities occasionally contract, reducing blood flow to certain areas of the body, usually the fingers or toes. When this happens, it is known as a Raynaud’s attack.
Raynaud’s attacks are typically triggered by cold temperatures or extreme stress. Because the spasms cut off blood flow to fingers, they first appear white and can look alarmingly lifeless. Because of the loss of blood, they can also feel numb and cold. If the fingers aren’t heated quickly enough, they then typically turn blue, however in more severe cases they can turn purple.
Then, as the blood returns to the fingers and toes they become red and swell. At this point they can feel painful and uncomfortable, usually described as a strong pins and needles sensation in the fingers and toes. This is because of the intermittent blood flow returning to the affected areas. Raynaud’s attacks can last from a few minutes to a few hours.
Why Do The Colours Change?
The fingers first turn white because of the contracting of the blood vessels. This moves blood away from the skin’s surface and deeper into the centre of the fingers. They then turn purple because the oxygen in the blood in the finger is used up and the blood isn’t replaced as quickly as it should be. The redness and throbbing happens because the blood vessels have opened up again and moved closer to the skin, allowing blood to return to the fingers.
Primary or Secondary Raynaud’s?
Purple fingers during an attack of Raynaud’s could be a sign of secondary Raynaud’s – where the condition is caused by an underlying disease. This is because fingers only tend to go purple in more serious cases of Raynaud’s, and primary Raynaud’s (where the condition exists by itself) is generally very mild.
In more severe cases of Raynaud’s, there are more risks of complications occurring, including ulcers and scarring developing on the affected fingers.
Protecting Against Raynaud’s Disease
The best way to stop your fingers turning purple because of Raynaud’s disease is to keep them warm, and the simplest and most effective way of doing that is to wear gloves. In protecting against a Raynaud’s attack, silver gloves are your best bet.
These gloves are made with silver thread woven into them, which helps keep your hands warmer for longer. This is because silver has one of the best “Infrared Reflectivity” ratings of any material. Your body’s natural heat energy is reflected back at your skin, keeping it warm and comfortable for longer.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on some gloves to help fend off Raynaud’s disease, head on over to RaynaudsDisease.com and check out our full ranges of Gloves and Silver Gloves.