Raynaud'sOverview

Raynaud's phenomenon is common and doesn't 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:

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.

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

  • 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

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
  • 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 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.

Support from SRUK

SRUK is the UK charity for people with scleroderma and Raynaud's. It offers:

Page last reviewed: 08/09/2017
Next review due: 08/09/2020