The third culprit, Raynaud’s phenomenon, is a benign condition that can be alarming to sufferers, Dr. Latimer says.
“Instead of an artery being blocked by something in a dangerous way, it’s temporarily blocked due to a sudden constriction of the blood vessels that doesn’t cause any damage,” she explains. “The hands can swell and the fingers can turn white like sausages. Even though it looks like a circulation problem, it’s not. Raynaud’s is not dangerous.”
The phenomenon can be triggered by cold temperatures, such as holding a cold hose or touching cold items at the grocery store. Or it can be triggered through vibrations, such as those that occur when operating a power tool.
“If you can’t avoid what triggers it, and it becomes troublesome, there are medications that can lower the incidence, such as calcium channel blockers, a type of blood pressure medication,” Dr. Latimer says.