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Hi, my sister has Raynauds disease. She has to wear gloves and take really good care of her hands. However, her fingers sometimes turn white and blue even when it is not cold. She says that Raynauds can be stress induced as well. I don’t understand what the mechanism of the stress effect is on Raynauds. Could you explain this phenomenon?

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Hi, the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease appear whenever the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, nose and ears constrict. Because of the constriction, the blood flow to these body parts is reduced and they turn white. Stress causes those blood vessels to constrict. We have inherited the mechanism of this reaction from our ancestors. When we are under stress, our body starts the so called fight or flight reaction. This is the reaction in which we produce hormones that will help us fight against the stress provocative. One of the steps of this reaction is the constriction of blood vessels in the skin. The reaction is meant to reduce the blood loss if we get hurt, but when people with Raynaud’s feel stress, this reaction causes the onset of the symptoms of the illness. I hope I have cleared up things for you and that you now understand how stress affects your sister.
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