What is Raynaud's?

Raynaud's phenomenon is a common condition thought to affect up to ten million people in the UK. In people who have Raynaud's, the small blood vessels in the extremities are over-sensitive to changes in temperature. This causes a Raynaud's attack where the fingers sometimes change colour, but not always, from white, to blue, to red.

A Raynaud's attack can be a very uncomfortable, possibly painful, process. It can also make everyday tasks, like buttoning a jacket or unzipping a purse, very difficult.

Raynaud's symptoms generally affect the fingers and toes, but all extremities can be involved, including the hands, feet, ears, nose and nipples. Symptoms of Raynaud's are a colour change in the extremities, cold extremities and numbness, tingling or pain.

How serious is Raynaud's?

There are two forms of Raynaud's:

Primary Raynaud's

This is usually mild and manageable. People with primary Raynaud's symptoms have no other complications, and only occasionally go on to develop a related problem. People with Primary Raynaud's should book an appointment with their GP if they are worried about symptoms or it impacts their life through pain, or if they have any other symptoms, or an other health condition.

Secondary Raynaud's

This is where Raynaud's is caused by another condition, usually an autoimmune disease like scleroderma or lupus. Secondary Raynaud's needs more investigation and more careful monitoring for complications like ulceration or sores. People who have noticed a change in their symptoms, are worried about their symptoms, if they have any other symptoms, or an other health condition should book an appointment with their GP promptly.


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