Raynaudsphenomenon is a common conditionthat affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body usually the fingers and toes.

It's often referred to as Raynauds syndrome, Raynaudsdisease or just Raynaud's.

Why does it happen?

Raynauds is usually triggered by cold temperatures, anxiety or stress. The condition occurs because your blood vessels go into a temporary spasm, which blocks the flow of blood.

This causes the affected area to change colour to white, then blue and then red, as the bloodflow returns.You may also experience numbness, pain, and pins and needles.

Symptoms of Raynaud's can lastfrom a few minutes to several hours.

It's nota serious threat to your health, but can be annoying to live with,because it can be difficult to use your fingers.People with Raynauds often go for long periods without any symptoms, and sometimes the condition goes away altogether.

Other parts of the body that can be affected by Raynauds include the ears, nose, nipples and lips.

Treating Raynaud's

In many cases, it may be possible to control the symptoms of Raynauds yourself by avoiding the cold, wearing gloves and using relaxation techniques when feeling stressed.

Stopping smoking can also improve symptoms, as smoking can affect your circulation.

If you're unable to control your symptoms yourself, then a medication called nifedipine may be recommended.

However1 in 10 people with primary Raynauds goes on to develop a condition associated with secondary Raynauds, such as lupus.

Your GP can help to determine whether you have primary or secondary Raynaud'sby examining your symptoms and carrying out blood tests .

However, severe complications are rare.

It affects up to 20% of the adult population worldwide. There may be as many as 10 million people with the condition in the UK.

Primary Raynauds usually begins in your 20s or 30s. Secondary Raynauds can develop at any age, depending on the cause.

Raynaud's is slightly more common in women than men.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016