Raynauds Disease and Phenomenon
Raynauds disease and phenomenon are problems with the blood vessels. It causes blood flow problems to the fingers ears, nose, and lips. Raynauds Disease (primary Raynauds) is the most common form. It does not requires the presence of any other medical conditions. Raynauds Phenomenon (secondary Raynauds) is the more severe form. It occurs along with other medical conditions such as:
Blood vessels normally narrow in response to cold temperatures or emotional stress. Raynauds is an exaggerated response to these triggers. The narrow blood vessels make it difficult to get enough blood flow to certain areas of the body. Fingers are affected most often.
It is not known what causes this abnormal reaction, but it is probably related to a problem of the nervous system. Secondary Raynauds is believed to be caused by the associated disease.
Raynauds disease and phenomenon are problems with the blood vessels. It causes blood flow problems to the fingers ears, nose, and lips.
Constriction of Blood Vessels Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Raynauds Disease (primary Raynauds) is the most common form. It does not requires the presence of any other medical conditions.
Raynauds Phenomenon (secondary Raynauds) is the more severe form. It occurs along with other medical conditions such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren's syndrome
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
- Nailfold capillaroscopy—study of the capillaries under a microscope
Blood tests—to help distinguish between Primary and Secondary Raynauds, and help identify underlying autoimmune conditions:
- Complete blood count
- Antinuclear antibody
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
There are no guidelines for preventing Primary or Secondary Raynauds. To prevent symptoms of Raynauds:
- Stay warm. Avoid cold temperatures when possible.
- Dress in layers.
- Wear clothing that covers extremities such as hats, gloves, or socks.
- Learn to adapt to stressful situations.
Don't smoke. If you smoke,
- Exercise regularly
training to control body temperature.
- Avoid the use of medications known to exacerbate Raynaud’s.
To minimize the risk of complications from Raynauds:
- Keep skin on fingers and toes protected.
- Avoid injuries.
Raynauds is more common in females and those aged 15-40 years old. Factors that increased your risk of Raynauds include:
Activities that involve repeated stress to hands such as:
- Playing piano
- Regular operation of vibrating tools, as in construction
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- A connective tissue disease (such as scleroderma)
Diseases of the arteries, including
Injuries to the hands or feet, such as wrist fractures or
Certain medications, such as:
- Cold remedies
- Migraine medications containing ergotamine
- Estrogen-containing medications
An attack of Raynauds may last a few minutes to a few hours. It usually comes on in response to the cold or during emotional distress. During an attack, symptoms may include:
Skin discoloration–during an attack, skin color may change to white, blue, and red.
- White occurs when the arteries narrow or collapse.
- Blue appears when the fingers, toes, or other areas are not getting enough oxygen-rich blood.
- The skin turns red and may become swollen when the attack subsides and blood returns.
- Throbbing and tingling sensations, stinging, pain, and swelling of the affected area. This may occur at the end of the attack as blood flow returns to the area.
There are several ways to reduce the symptoms of Raynauds during an attack: