Raynaud's phenomenon (or Raynaud's disease) is a condition causing some areas of the body to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. Women are more commonly affected, with about 5% of the general population and 20% of women experiencing Raynaud’s phenomenon at some stage in their life. It is also more common in colder climates.
Raynauds is caused by temporary disruption to blood flow in small blood vessels in the extremeties. You are mostly likely to get Raynauds in your fingers, toes, tip of the nose, lips and ears.
Most people with this condition have primary Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is often mild and does not have a clear underlying cause. Some people have secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon where there is an underlying cause such as an autoimmune disease.
If you experience Raynaud’s phenomenon, you should discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor may find an underlying cause, which can be treated.
Here are some tips to help you prevent further episodes of Raynauds from occurring:
- dress warmly, including wearing a hat to stop body heat escaping from the top of your head
- don’t get wet
- wear gloves, a scarf and warm socks on cool days
- try to avoid changes in temperature, which can bring on an attack.
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Last reviewed: October 2016