Raynaud’s disease is a blood vessel disorder that typically affects fingers and toes. In rare cases, it can also affect the nose, ears, and lips. Now, we’ve all had this happen at some point. Maybe you’re out walking your dog in the middle of winter, shoveling show, or trying to warm up with a hot cup of coffee – and your hands or toes start feeling cold and numb. This is a normal response from your body trying to conserve heat. But, it’s when these blood vessels shrink and narrow quicker and more than normal that it is classified as Raynaud’s disease.

Raynaud’s Disease – Annoying, Not Dangerous

For those who have Raynaud’s disease, affected areas may feel prickly or numb. But, this is more annoying than dangerous for most people. I don’t have Raynaud’s disease personally, but I do treat patients with the condition and they say it can be quite painful as fingers and toes warm back up. They can experience tingling, stinging, or throbbing. Now, there are very rare cases where Raynaud’s disease can be dangerous because it can cause a blocked artery that leads to ulcers or skin sores. Another rare and extreme event could leave you with gangrene. But, again, these are very rare.

Could You Have Raynaud’s?

If you experience symptoms of Raynaud’s disease, get to your doctor to determine which type you have. Primary Raynaud’s disease is more common than Secondary Raynaud’s, or Raynaud’s phenomenon. Secondary Raynaud’s is typically caused by an underlying problem such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus and is usually more serious than Primary Raynaud’s. And always make sure to bundle up when heading outdoors, and, if you start to feel too cold, get yourself back inside!