White Fingers: Raynaudís Symptoms
28 September 2015 | John
Raynaud’s Disease (also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, Raynaud’s syndrome or simply Raynaud’s) is a condition which causes blood vessels at the extremities to contract and spasm, reducing blood flow. When this happens, it is known as an attack of Raynaud’s and it can cause several visible changes.
When the blood vessels spasm, they cut off blood supply to the affected extremities, most commonly fingers and toes. This causes fingers to turn white. During a typical attack, this is all they will do for a very short amount of time before the hands warm up again and the blood is restored.
However, if the hands don’t warm up quickly then the fingers can then turn blue because of the loss of oxygen. After this the blood will return to the fingers, causing them to turn red and swell. At this point they can become painful and numb. This order isn’t the same for everyone, and not everyone goes through every stage.
Most Raynaud’s attacks last for a few minutes at most, however in some cases they can last for up to several hours.
Numb and Cold Fingers
It’s not uncommon for your fingers during a Raynaud’s attack to become cold and numb. In fact, because Raynaud’s attacks are often caused by cold temperatures, it’s likely that your hands were cold before the attack started. The numbness is because of the loss of blood – without blood flow your nerves can’t work as well and you start to lose feeling in your fingers.
Once the blood starts coming back to your fingers they can feel painful – most people describe it as a pins and needles-style sensation. The tingling is down to an intermittent blood supply returning to parts of your fingers.
Protecting Against a Raynaud’s Attack
The best way to protect against a Raynaud’s attack and keep your fingers the right colour is to wear some gloves designed for Raynaud’s disease. The most common and best gloves for Raynaud’s disease are silver gloves.
These gloves feature silver thread combined with cotton to keep your hands warmer for longer. This is because silver reflects heat energy better than most other materials, so your body heat is kept inside the gloves rather than escaping as most other gloves do. This means you can be more comfortable and more mobile even in the colder months.