Patients afflicted with Raynaud's disease can experience cold and numb sensations in the hands and feet, according to WebMD. These attacks last only a few minutes, and in rare cases, they can affect the nose or ears.
Raynaud's disease is characterized by a problem with blood flow, according to WebMD. In many cases, Raynaud's disease does not have a direct cause, but is a symptom of another disease such as lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis or atherosclerosis. It can also be brought on by use of certain medicines, vibrating power tools, smoking or having frostbite, in which case it is known as secondary Raynaud's. The most common trigger to bring on symptoms of Raynaud's is exposure to cold. Other triggers, such as emotional stress and caffeine, can affect the flow of blood, particularly in the extremities.
Diagnosis of Raynaud's typically begins with a physical exam from a doctor, reports WebMD. There is not a test that can determine if a patient has Raynaud's disease, but a doctor can do blood tests to rule out other diseases that may be causing symptoms.
There is no cure for Raynaud's disease that exists on its own, but it can be controlled by avoiding the primary triggers. A doctor can also prescribe medicine known as calcium channel blockers that increase blood flow to the hands and feet. Alternative treatments, such as herbal supplements and biofeedback training, may work for certain patients, claims WebMD.