We have attributed colours to every emotion or feeling. How about feeling cold? We have attributed blue colour to cold. There are a few people out there who actually turn blue in response to cold. Well not exactly like the smurfs but mainly their extremities like feet, toe nails, hand nails, and palms or sometimes even the tip of the nose are overly sensitive to cold. This phenomenon is called the Reynauds phenomenon/disease/syndrome.

Raynaud's Phenomenon Treatment, Causes, Symptoms & Pictures
Image showing bluing of fingers in Reyanud’s disease
Image credits: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.medicinenet.com%2Fraynauds_phenomenon%2Farticle.htm&psig=AOvVaw0CByLOHEYckMWCqrnHLIey&ust=1586580476008000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCOiSuf-G3egCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

Naturally, our bodies will conserve heat in cold temperatures. One way of doing this is by shutting off the blood supply to extremities like hands and feet and confining the blood flow to the core to keep the vital organs warm. This is done through a process called vasoconstriction (Vaso- vessel; constriction- we know what that is). So, the arteries that carry blood to the extremities vasoconstrict and hence restrict the blood flow. This happens in everyone but in the people who have Reynaud’s phenomenon, this happens more and faster than normal making their hands and feet turn white and then blue in response to cold.

Trigger Point Therapy - Raynaud's Syndrome – Niel Asher Education
Image showing vasoconstriction of digital arteries in response to cold
Image credits: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nielasher.com%2Fblogs%2Fvideo-blog%2Ftrigger-point-therapy-raynaud-s-syndrome&psig=AOvVaw0Oo2lqliCzym-zPy-TEVwP&ust=1586580608568000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAMQjB1qFwoTCKDwtb6H3egCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAI

This is a pretty common disease (although it is regarded as a rare one): every one ten people have the primary form and every one in hundred can have the secondary form of this disease. Wait, it has two forms? Yup it does.

So the primary form (Reynaud’s disease) is a milder form and occurs without an underlying pathology which basically means that you can have the primary disease that has developed without the presence of another disease.

Secondary form (Reynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome) on the other hand can be severe. This develops because of an existing condition which is generally autoimmune. This means that your own immune cells attack your own body cells and there is basically an internal war without an outsider. Examples of such diseases would be lupus (remember Selena Gomez?) or rheumatoid arthritis. This form of Reynaud’s is so severe that due to the blockage of blood flow, the hypoxic areas can actually turn into gangrene or you might develop skin sores.

Raynaud Syndrome - Cardiovascular Disorders - MSD Manual ...
Image showing a severe form of Reynaud’s phenomenon causing gangrene (in the index finger)
Image credits: https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msdmanuals.com%2F-%2Fmedia%2Fmanual%2Fprofessional%2Fimages%2F43_raynaud_slide_39_springer_high.jpg%3Fla%3Den%26thn%3D0&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.msdmanuals.com%2Fprofessional%2Fcardiovascular-disorders%2Fperipheral-arterial-disorders%2Fraynaud-syndrome&tbnid=Ec9iaRVAD3BolM&vet=12ahUKEwjh_cn0h93oAhXEErcAHSWiDJ8QMygGegUIARDiAQ..i&docid=sIHm4BNfSpcOqM&w=500&h=316&q=raynaud%27s%20disease%20gangrene&client=safari&ved=2ahUKEwjh_cn0h93oAhXEErcAHSWiDJ8QMygGegUIARDiAQ

Now, what causes Reynaud’s disease is not completely understood but cold temperature, anxiety or even stress can trigger it. The people who have this syndrome can feel numbness, pain, pins and needle like feeling or even difficulty moving the affected area.

As for the treatment, for mild cases, people just have to keep themselves warm and take precautionary measures to avoid the attack. For severe cases, the doctor might prescribe medications that prevent vasoconstriction and may also test them for other autoimmune conditions.

Hope you all enjoyed reading this! Any other colour you guys think you can relate to a disease?

References:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/raynauds/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/raynauds-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20363571

https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/raynauds-phenomenon#1

4 thoughts on “Blue in cold

    1. Excellent question. The primary can’t really turn into secondary as these aren’t the stages of the disease. If you notice, I’ve mentioned that primary is called the “disease” because it occurs by itself whereas secondary is a “syndrome or phenomenon” because it is secondary to another disease.

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