Tingling white cold fingers or toes: Raynaud’s phenomenon

Chilblains usually occur during bleak and cold days. The blood no longer flows that far, causing Raynaud’s phenomenon to occur. The condition manifests itself in white fingertips, but over time it can cause additional pain, possibly combined with a red or purple color. What does the condition mean, what underlying problems can it cause and what can be done about it?

Raynaud’s phenomenon

  • Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Anemia
  • Influence of scleroderma
  • Smoking
  • What to do?


Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon

When it is cold, the body needs a lot of blood to stay warm. The extreme parts of the limbs are extra sensitive in that case, because they can quickly become hypothermic. The veins contract slightly, causing less blood to reach these parts to provide sufficient warmth to the rest of the body. It results in a blood shortage, causing tingling and whitening fingertips. Later, the blood supply may increase again, causing the white color to change to deep red or purple. Painful tingling sensations may occur. This attack of Raynaud’s phenomenon can be weather dependent, but can also be caused by body conditions.


People with anemia already have an increased risk of developing it. Low blood pressure increases the chance that certain parts will receive less oxygen-rich blood. The person has relatively little strength in the body, because everything takes much more effort. In addition, people tire more quickly and the muscles are more likely to ache. Especially the far ends in the body can become deprived of sufficient oxygen-rich blood, causing them to tingle and discolor.

Influence of scleroderma

Connective tissue in the body ensures that all parts are connected and also ensures that organs with muscles can function smoothly. In addition, it forms the highway for nerve pathways and blood veins. Systematic scleroderma is the disease in which the connective tissue hardens, becomes stiffer or thickens. As a result, muscles and organs can work less effectively, which, for example, impairs the mobility of the lungs. In other words, it causes the breathing capacity to decrease, resulting in the body receiving less oxygen-rich blood. Blood flow within the affected connective tissue can also cause serious problems.


Those with a smoking addiction consume large amounts of nicotine. This substance causes the veins to narrow. It causes blood pressure to increase, but can also cause the limbs to receive less blood. Smoking can worsen the condition, causing the tingling sensation to travel further up the limbs. So stop smoking!

What to do?

The condition comes and goes with time. The fingertips or toes feel strange to painful for a while, but after the attack the blood supply is restored. If it is caused by the cold, you should of course wear warm skin-covering materials, and sometimes a drink can help. If it is due to a body condition, some time will have to be given to allow the body to recover. However, if you notice that the condition further extends into the fingers and hands, causing the hands and arms to tingle further, then there may be more going on. A structural deprivation of blood supply often means an internally problematic condition, such as heart failure, internal bleeding and so on. So pay attention to the signals and if in doubt, ask your doctor or call 112 in an emergency.

read more

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