Cold Hands, Warm Heart

We are finally getting into some colder weather now that it’s December.  While some people, like me, enjoy the colder weather, there are others who dread the cold and even have medical conditions that react negatively with cold weather.

One such condition is known as Raynaud’s disease.  Raynaud’s causes certain parts of your body, normally your fingers and toes, to feel numb and even turn colors in cold weather.  This phenomenon occurs as a result of a narrowing of the smaller arteries that provide blood to your skin.  So, when it’s cold outside, the circulation is affected as cold is a vasoconstrictor.  Vasoconstriction means the blood vessels constrict or tighten, whereas vasodilation occurs with heat when the blood vessels dilate or expand.

Raynaud’s is not a life threatening or major medical condition, but it can certainly affect one’s quality of life.  One simple way to help treat Raynaud’s in the hands it to wear gloves in the cold weather or just simply keep the hands warm in whatever way works for the person.

According to the Mayo clinic’s website, “During an attack of Raynaud's, affected areas of your skin usually first turn white. Then, they often turn blue and feel cold and numb. As you warm and circulation improves, the affected areas may turn red, throb, tingle or swell.

Although Raynaud's most commonly affects your fingers and toes, it can also affect other areas of your body, such as your nose, lips, ears and even nipples. After warming, it can take 15 minutes for normal blood flow to return to the area.”  More information about Raynaud’s can be found on their website at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/raynauds-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20363571

During this colder season, it is helpful for those with a hand injury, arthritis, or Raynaud’s to keep your hands warm.  Starting off the day by running your hands under warm water or even using paraffin wax can help increase the circulation in your hands and make range of motion much easier.  In addition to just the heat, moving your fingers and wrists helps to increase circulation and increase the temperature of your hands and can help decrease pain and tightness in your hands.  So, remember to keep warm during this winter weather and keep those hands moving.

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