December 18, 1990
Q: Can you explain why my fingers often feel numb and look white when I am out in cold weather or rinse dishes in cold water?A: Your description fits the symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon, a fairly common condition that particularly affects women less than 40 years old.The arteries in the fingers normally constrict after exposure to cold and sometimes when emotional stress is excessive in people with Raynaud's. Full-blown attacks are characterized by three stages. First, the fingers turn pale as circulation is cut off. Next, they turn blue as a result of blood pooling in capillaries.