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 in extremities when it gets colder.
While your fingers can go numb and change color in extreme cold for prolonged durations of time – commonly known as frostbite – those with Raynaud’s (up to 10-per cent of Americans) can suffer uncomfortable symptoms even when the indoor or outdoor environment doesn’t feel very cold to others. 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, a patient’s fingers usually turn white first (which is actually what happens during a more advanced stage of frostbite). The skin will then often turn blue, while feeling cold and numb, it adds.
“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.