Have you ever experienced your toe color change from white to blue to red after exposure to the cold or as a result of a stressful situation? If so, you may have a condition known as Raynaud’s. Similar discoloration is also common in the fingers, ears and tip of the nose. In response to change in temperature or stress, the small blood vessels start to spasm which restricts blood flow. That is why the initial color change is white. Next, the area becomes a blue color, during which one may experience pain and numbness. Once the area is warm, the blood flow returns, and the area becomes red.
There are two types of Raynaud’s; Raynaud’s disease and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Raynaud’s disease occurs on it’s own and Raynaud’s phenomenon is associated with other diseases such as autoimmune disorders ( ex. Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogen’s syndrome) and connective tissue disorders (ex. Scleroderma). Smoking is also a major risk factor for developing Raynaud’s
Unfortunately the cause is unknown and there is no cure. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms. It is recommended to avoid the cold, wear socks and gloves and to stop smoking. In some cases, prescription medications are prescribed to relax the blood vessels and prevent spasms.