The thermometer is dropping as winter approaches, and some people may feel it more than others, especially in their fingers and toes. That’s because they may have a condition called Raynaud’s disease (also called Raynaud’s syndrome or phenomenon) that causes numbness and other symptoms in the extremities when it gets colder.
While your fingers can go numb and change color when exposed to extreme cold for prolonged periods of time (commonly known as frostbite), those with Raynaud’s (up to 10-percent of Americans) can suffer uncomfortable symptoms, even when the indoor or outdoor environment isn’t very cold. Here are eight cold, tingling facts about this health problem…
1. White Fingers First
The Mayo Clinic explains that during an “attack” of Raynaud’s disease, a patient’s fingers usually turn white first (which is actually what happens during a more advanced stage of frostbite). Then, the skin will often turn blue while feeling cold and numb.
“As you warm and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle, or swell,” says the clinic. This is the opposite of frostbite, as the skin will turn red first before turning white, and defrosting from frostbite can also be quite painful.