Raynaud’s Phenomenon is more than cold hands and feet

In our cold winter weather, many people complain of cold hands and feet with reduced circulation to these areas.  Often the skin will be whiter than normal and quickly normalizes once warmed.  Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a level beyond this whereby blood vessels constrict to a greater extent than normal as a result of cold temperatures or stress. There are three phases to the colour change of the skin. Initially, the restricted blood flood causes the skin surface to feel cold and the skin has a white colour, then the skin turns to a purple-blue colour, followed by a pink or red colour as the blood flow eventually returns.

There are prescription medications which can swallowed to promote blood flow that often cause a lowering of blood pressure.  A variety of prescription ingredients can also be prepared in a prescription cream and applied to the affected areas.  Feel free to ask our pharmacists about these options.  Raynaud’s can exist on its own or happen as a result of a pre-existing autoimmune condition.  Be sure to speak to your physician if you are experiencing the symptoms outlined above.  If severe and not treated, lack of blood flow can result and ulceration and the skin and serious consequences.


Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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