Diseases Home > Symptoms of Raynaud's
Typical symptoms of Raynaud's include coldness, changes in skin color, and numbness. These symptoms are caused by reduced blood supply to the extremities, and attacks can last from less than a minute to several hours. The period of exposure to cold is critical in the duration and severity of symptoms of Raynaud's. It only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to cause potentially serious problems.
For most people, a Raynaud's attack is usually triggered by exposure to cold or emotional stress. In general, attacks affect the fingers or toes, but may also affect the nose, lips, or ear lobes.
During an attack, the symptoms of Raynaud's are caused by reduced blood supply to the extremities. When a person is exposed to cold, the body's normal response is to slow down the loss of heat and preserve the core temperature. To maintain this temperature, the blood vessels that control blood flow to the skin surface move blood from arteries near the surface to veins deeper in the body.
For people with Raynaud's phenomenon, this normal body response is intensified by the sudden spasmodic contractions of the small blood vessels (arterioles) that supply blood to the fingers and toes. The arteries of the fingers and toes may also collapse. As a result, the blood supply to the extremities is greatly decreased, causing a reaction that includes skin discoloration and other changes.
Once the attack begins, a person may experience symptoms of Raynaud's to the affected area that include:
- Changes in skin color