New York Magazine Article on Raynaud’s

Freezing HandsNew York Magazine’s web site The Cut defines its mission as “Combining the beauty of a high-end fashion magazine with the dynamic energy of the web…The Cut is fashion, forward.”

So we were excited to see the publication feature an article on Raynaud’s titled “Why Are My Hands Always Freezing?”  It’s great having such a respected resource devote time and attention to building awareness of Raynaud’s, we just wish for more consistency in how this publication and others describe it.

The author, Susan Rinkunas, suggests that “many people suspect they have Raynaud’s” (unfortunately so untrue!), but unless they have extreme symptoms, they’re probably wrong.  She continues by referring to the color changes sufferers experience:  “People with Raynaud’s experience their hands first turning red, then sometimes blue because they’re not getting enough blood. Finally, your fingers begin to appear ghostly white and can hurt…”  And she states that if you don’t see these color changes, you probably just need to get up from your desk and move around to get the circulation moving.

While most resources get the patriotic colors right, they don’t always report the order or need for textbook color changes accurately.  First, fingers turn white as the blood flows from the fingers (or other extremity).  Then they’ll turn blue from the lack of oxygen, then – as Frosties get warm or calm again – our blood flows back quickly compared to the norm, so they may turn red as we recover.

Everyone, however, doesn’t experience these textbook color changes.  Some people never get past white; others flow fast past blue to purple or greyish black.  Some may not see the red (they’re just happy to see the white go away and get back to normal!).  So while we’re glad articles like these will help educate more people about Raynaud’s and to look for the signs, we have a concern that it may work to convince some sufferers that their medically-induced discomfort is just “poor circulation” and discourage them from seeking advice and treatment.

We have to accept the fact that the media need a lot more knowledge about Raynaud’s, and be grateful for any and all exposure, but we want our members and followers to be armed with the facts.  For more information, please refer to our FAQ’s and our 35-page guide:  The Cold Facts on Raynaud’s (and strategies for a warmer life).

Here’s the full article in The Cut:  “Why Are My Hands Always Freezing?


1 Comment

  1. I agree that the color changes are often not reported accurately. I also agree that we Frosties seem to differ a little in what we experience. Like others, when the spasm starts I experience white color, along with a “fingertip-stuck-in-an-ice-cube” feeling. I’ll stay that way until I can get the spasm to release. When that happens, I initially see red color, then blue or purple for a while, then red again. I think what is happening (though I’m not trained in medicine) is that as blood flows into the areas that were blocked, red color initially replaces white. But that initial flow of blood is very quickly deoxygenated by the oxygen-starved tissue, turning it blue or purple before it continues on its way back to the heart and lungs. Once the oxygen starvation is resolved, the blood flowing through the area retains its red color.

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