Raynaud's disease is a condition that causes the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, nose, and ears to become constricted (narrowed) in response to cold temperatures or stress.
During an episode, the affected areas of the body may feel numb or turn white in color. Symptoms will start to go away once the patient is exposed to warm temperatures or reduces his/her level of stress.
When the condition occurs by itself, it is called Raynaud's disease (or primary Raynaud's). However, sometimes this disorder is a symptom of another medical condition, such as scleroderma (an autoimmune disease), lupus, or a blood vessel disease. In such cases, the disorder is called Raynaud's phenomenon (or secondary Raynaud's).
Very few Americans have Raynaud's disease. It is more common among women than men. It is also more common in individuals who live in colder climates. Activities that put stress on the hands, such as playing the piano, typing, or frequently using vibrating tools (such as construction equipment), may increase an individual's risk of developing the disease.
Individuals can prevent episodes of Raynaud's disease by dressing warmly and taking steps to reduce stress and anxiety. Treatment for Raynaud's disease may include medications to dilate (widen) the blood vessels. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
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