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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Raynaud syndrome

Mate a Raynaud

Raynaud syndrome is when your fingers and toes (and occasionally other parts of your body) change colour and become painful when you get cold.

This is due to blood vessels narrowing so less blood goes to your fingers and toes. The change in colour can last minutes or hours but the colour gradually returns to normal when you warm up.

This condition is quite common and although uncomfortable, it doesn't usually cause any long-term problems. For most people, there is no known cause.

Sometimes, there are secondary causes for it happening. For example, it could be caused by a tissue condition such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), medications such as beta blockers or some migraine medications. This is called secondary Raynaud syndrome.

Diagnosing Raynaud syndrome

There are no specific tests for Raynaud syndrome but your general practice team might suggest a blood test if they think it might be caused by a connective tissue condition.

Treating Raynaud syndrome

The best thing you can do is keep warm in cold weather by wearing gloves and warm socks and avoiding very cold weather.

For most people, keeping warm is enough to manage Raynaud syndrome. For others, medications can help increase circulation to the fingers and toes.

Stopping smoking is helpful as smoking makes your blood vessels constrict more, which can make Raynaud syndrome worse.

See your general practice team if you think a medication or another condition could be causing Raynaud syndrome.

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See also:

Keeping your home warm and dry

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2022.


Page reference: 483612

Review key: HIBLV-403653