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Raynaud’s disease is a condition caused by constriction and spasms of small arteries, primarily in the hands after exposure to cold. Frequently, white or bluish discoloration of the hands (and sometimes toes, cheeks, nose, or ears) will occur after exposure to cold or emotional stress.
The cause of Raynaud’s disease is unknown. A condition called Raynaud’s phenomenon causes similar symptoms, but it is the result of connective tissue disease or exposure to certain chemicals. The same natural remedies are used to treat both disorders.
Fingers (generally not the thumb) or other affected parts of the body may feel numb or cold during an episode, and later, after warming, may become bright red with a throbbing painful sensation.
Dressing warmly and wearing gloves or mittens often help prevent attacks of Raynaud’s disease. Individuals with Raynaud’s disease should not smoke, because nicotine decreases blood flow to the extremities. Women with Raynaud’s disease should not use birth control pills, as this method of contraception can adversely affect circulation.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2017.