Raynaud's phenomenon is common and does not usually cause any severe problems. You can often treat the symptoms yourself by keeping warm. Sometimes it can be a sign of a more serious condition.
Check if it's Raynaud's
Raynaud's affects your blood circulation. When you're cold, anxious or stressed, your fingers and toes may change colour.
Other symptoms can include:
- pins and needles
- difficulty moving the affected area
Some people also find their ears, nose, lips or nipples are affected.
The symptoms of Raynaud's may last from a few minutes to a few hours.
If you're not sure it's Raynaud's
|Pins and needles that lasts for a few minutes||Resting or sleeping on part of the body|
|Breathing too quickly, trembling hands, pins and needles, but fingers do not change colour||Hyperventilation|
|Burning or itchy swelling on fingers and toes, happens after being very cold, gets worse as you warm up||Chilblains|
Things you can do to help with Raynaud's
do not smoke – improve your circulation by stopping smoking
do not drink too much tea, coffee or cola – caffeine and other stimulants can stop you relaxing
Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:
- your symptoms are very bad or getting worse
- Raynaud's is affecting your daily life
- you only have numbness on 1 side of your body
- you also have joint pain, skin rashes or muscle weakness
- you're over 30 and get symptoms of Raynaud's for the first time
- your child is under 12 and has symptoms of Raynaud's
Treatment for Raynaud's from a GP
If your symptoms are very bad or getting worse, a GP may prescribe a medicine called nifedipine to help improve your circulation.
Some people need to take nifedipine every day. Others only use it to prevent Raynaud's – for example, during cold weather.
Support from SRUK
SRUK is the UK charity for people with scleroderma and Raynaud's.
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Page last reviewed: 8 September 2017
Next review due: 8 September 2020