Not knowing what's causing certain symptoms can be frustrating for many people.
As Chuck Roberts reports in today's Health Minute, it's often times a relief to find out there is a treatable medical condition behind the changes.
Seven years ago, Jennifer Gehrmann happening to her hands when she was in the frozen food section of the grocery store...noticed something odd.
"They would turn white and sometimes would be numb and they would stay that way for while."
Jennifer was diagnosed with primary Raynaud's Phenomenon, which is a rare disorder affecting the arteries.
"What happens is that the blood vessels actually spasm and remain spasmed for longer than what would be normal so the fingers will tend to turn colors & become painful."
During a spasm, the hands - and sometimes even toes and earlobes- may turn red, white or blue. The pain may be more of a numbing or tingling sensation.
"Most of the time, when people have primary raynaud's phenomenon, there is not going to be any significant progression."
The major triggers of an attack? Exposure to cold, and stress can do it...While the cause of primary raynaud's isn't known, lifestyle changes- like a decrease in caffeine- may help, or there's medication, often similar to blood pressure drugs.
But a doctor can determine if it's a sign of something more serious...As there's another kind of Raynaud's that can be the result of another disease or condition like rheumatoid arthritis - that's called secondary Raynaud's Phenomenon.
As for Jennifer, medicine is helping her control her disorder and she monitors the condition.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis, women are more likely than men to have the condition, which typically begins to show up in people between the ages of 15 to 25.
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