What is Raynaud’s?

What is Raynaud’s?

Constantly cold hands can be uncomfortable, but are they dangerous?

“Cold hands are a common complaint, and in most cases, very annoying, but not serious,” says Dr. Robert Martin, family medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “In cold conditions, the body shunts blood away from the hands and feet to protect vital organs.”

One explanation for unusually cold hands could be what is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon. According to The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Raynaud’s is a rare disorder marked by the narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Most often, Raynaud’s affects the fingers and toes.

“Raynaud’s phenomenon is an exaggerated response to cold conditions or emotional stress,” says Dr. Martin. “The cause of most cases is not known, although it can be associated with certain medical conditions.”

While Dr. Martin says we don’t why some people suffer from Raynaud’s and some do not, risk factors for the condition include:

  • Being female
  • Being young in age
  • Having an affected first-degree relative

“Treatment strategies may involve keeping the hands warm with good gloves or hand warmers and keeping the core body warm by layering clothing and avoiding sudden changes in temperature,” says Dr. Martin. “It’s also important to avoid tobacco products and reduce stress.”

See your primary care physician if you think your hands are abnormally cold, abnormally painful while cold or if one hand is colder than the other.

Are you trying to find a doctor? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

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  1. I have found women that are slender faced, small noses and chins that experience low blood pressure, cold hands and feet, poor sleepers, experience muscle aches and pains, some depression that frequently wake during the night may have “The beautiful woman’s disorder”.
    Their upper airways are narrow and when attempting sleep, the airway narrows even more making the body think it is suffocating, causing arousal’s or awakenings from sleep constantly to gain muscle tone back to open the airway to properly breathe again.
    CPAP would be a good therapy, however most that have a sleep study have an AHI <5 which is normal and do not qualify for this treatment..
    Dr. Martin, have you heard of this?

    • I have a relative that was diagnosed with Raynaud’s, and she also suffers from low blood pressure, muscle aches, depression and is a poor sleeper with sleep apnea. Ironically, she is slender faced with a small nose and chin.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.