Raynaud's

Raynaud’s phenomenon is common and doesn’t usually cause serious problems. It often goes away without seeing a GP.

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:

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.

When it's something else
Symptoms Possible causes
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 don’t 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 yourself

Do

  • keep your home warm
  • wear warm clothes during cold weather - especially on your hands and feet
  • exercise regularly - this helps improve circulation
  • try breathing exercises or yoga to help you relax
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet

Don't

  • smoke - improve your circulation by stopping smoking
  • drink too much tea, coffee or cola - caffeine and other stimulants can stop you relaxing

See a GP if:

  • your symptoms are very bad or getting worse
  • Raynaud's is affecting your daily life
  • you only have numbness on one side of your body

Treatment from a GP

If your symptoms are very bad or getting worse, your 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.

Sometimes your GP will examine you and suggest a blood test. In rare cases, Raynaud’s could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Call 111

If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.

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