Raynaud's syndrome as a cause of cold hands

Raynaud's syndrome causes attack-like circulatory disorders - and therefore cold and pale fingers. We explain what you should know about it.
Raynaud syndrome: hands of a woman

What is Raynaud's syndrome?

We all know cold fingers from stimuli like a cool bottle - those who suffer from Raynaud's syndrome (also called "Raynaud's disease") must expect significantly stronger reactions. Because of the disease, the arteries of the fingers contract jerkily, causing a severe blood circulation disorder: the fingers (and sometimes the toes) become almost bloodless and painful, the skin turns pale or blue.
In this context, one often speaks of a vascular spasm that can last up to 30 minutes. When the arteries expand again, the blood flows back into the fingers - these redden in many cases and the pain persists. Not only cold can trigger the symptoms of Raynaud's syndrome, but also strong emotions or stress. The disease was named after the French doctor Maurice Raynaud (1834 - 1881), who first described it in his medical dissertation.

Primary and secondary forms

There are two different forms of Raynaud syndrome, according to the doctor :
  • Primary: The primary form primarily affects women between the ages of 20 and 40, who can often experience low blood pressureThe exact cause of the syndrome is not yet known, often the symptoms decrease again in the course of life.
  • Secondary: In the secondary form, the syndrome occurs as a result of another disease and can also affect the elderly. Triggers can be, for example, rheumatism or multiple sclerosis. 

Diseased vessels: other causes of secondary Raynaud's syndrome

Not only diseases can trigger secondary Raynaud syndrome. The following triggers are also known:
  • Vibration syndrome: This disease can arise if you work with strongly vibrating devices for many years - for example a jackhammer
  • drug consumption
  • Medication (e.g. hypertension or migraine medication)

Help for patients: The right therapy for Raynaud's syndrome

It is best to prevent the symptoms entirely by avoiding the cold - and wrap your hands warmly as therapy. Gloves and handbag warmers protect you from the symptoms of Raynaud syndrome, especially when it's cold outside. Patients should also stop smoking for successful treatment. Exercise also helps stimulate blood circulation. If the symptoms are stress-related, meditation and autogenic training provide relaxation.

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