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Raynaud's disease is more than simply having cold hands and cold feet, and it's not the same as frostbite. Signs and symptoms of Raynaud's depend on the frequency, duration and severity of the blood vessel spasms that underlie the disorder. Raynaud's disease symptoms include:

  • Cold fingers and toes
  • Sequence of color changes in your skin in response to cold or stress
  • Numb, prickly feeling or stinging pain upon warming or relief of stress

During an attack of Raynaud's, affected areas of your skin usually turn white at first. Then, the affected areas often turn blue, feel cold and numb, and your sense of touch is dulled. As circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell. The order of the changes of color isn't the same for all people, and not everyone experiences all three colors.

Occasionally, an attack affects just one or two fingers or toes. Attacks don't necessarily always affect the same digits. Although Raynaud's most commonly affects your fingers and toes, the condition can also affect other areas of your body, such as your nose, lips, ears and even nipples. An attack may last less than a minute to several hours.

People who have Raynaud's accompanied by another disease will likely also have signs and symptoms related to their basic underlying condition.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor right away if you have a history of severe Raynaud's and develop an ulcer or infection in one of your affected fingers or toes.

Oct. 20, 2011

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