What Are the Physical Characteristics of Raynaud's Disease?

Physical symptoms of Raynaud's disease include spasms of the arteries in the fingers and toes that limit the blood supply, according to Mayo Clinic. During an episode, the digits become white and then blue and cold. As the vessels relax and the blood supply returns, they become red and painful.

Exposure to cold or stress triggers most Raynaud's attacks. Primary Raynaud's disease is the most common form. With this type of disease, the attacks occur without underlying medical conditions causing the spasm of the arteries, states Mayo Clinic.

A secondary form, known as Raynaud's phenomenon, results from a secondary condition, such as connective tissue disease, artery disease, smoking, injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. People who use their hands in repetitive motion or expose them to excess vibration are at an increased risk of developing secondary Raynaud's, reports Mayo Clinic.

Complications of severe Raynaud's include deformity of the digits and the possible development of skin ulcers due to a lack of circulation, according to Mayo Clinic. As the condition continues to decrease circulation, the patient may develop gangrene and require amputation of the affected part.

Treatment for Raynaud's disease includes dressing warmly and the use of certain medications to relax the blood vessels. Patients with the disease should avoid over-the-counter cold medications that cause constriction of the blood vessels, indicates Mayo Clinic.