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Raynaud's phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon: Introduction

Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition in which there are spasms, constriction and narrowing of the capillaries of the fingers and toes. Capillaries are the smallest arteries that supply vital oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissues.

A steady supply of oxygen and nutrients are critical to the health of the cells and tissues of the fingers and toes. Narrowing of the blood vessels that occurs in Raynaud's phenomenon interferes with this supply. This is called ischemia. In ischemia, cells are unable to reproduce normally, recover effectively from injury, and fight infection. This leads to the symptoms and complications of Raynaud's phenomenon. These include color changes, cold fingers and toes, and the development of sores or lesions that do not heal. If Raynaud's phenomenon is left untreated, gangrene (tissue death) can occur. Less commonly, Raynaud's phenomenon can also cause symptoms and complications in the nose, lips, and earlobes. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon.

Raynaud's phenomenon is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disease the body's immune system mistakes healthy tissues as foreign and potentially dangerous invaders into the body and attacks them. Underlying diseases and disorders that can cause Raynaud's phenomenon include certain autoimmune disorders, such as scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis. If the cause is unknown, the condition is called Raynaud's disease or primary Raynaud's.

People at risk for Raynaud's phenomenon include people with underlying diseases or behaviors that cause damage or narrowing of the blood vessels. These include smoking, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis. Raynaud's phenomenon can also be caused by medications that cause constriction of the blood vessels, such as beta blockers, certain migraine medications, cold and allergy drugs, birth control pills, and certain cancer drugs. Raynaud's phenomenon occurs most in women between 15 and 40 years of age.

Making a diagnosis of Raynaud's phenomenon includes completing a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination. A diagnosis of Raynaud's disease can often be made based on symptoms and an exam.

A battery of other tests may also be performed if it is suspected that another disease or disorder is causing Raynaud's phenomenon.

It is possible that a diagnosis of Raynaud's phenomenon can be missed or delayed because the symptoms may be mild, assumed to be normal, and similar to symptoms of other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Raynaud's phenomenon.

If caught early, Raynaud's phenomenon can often be successfully treated before the development of complications. Treatment varies depending on the specific type of Raynaud's phenomenon. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon....more »

Raynaud's phenomenon: Misdiagnosis

Raynaud's phenomenon frequently goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are often attributed to simply having cold hands and feet. In addition, symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon are similar to symptoms of other conditions and diseases, such as aging, Buerger's disease, perimenopause, and hypothyroidism. ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Raynaud's phenomenon:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Raynaud's phenomenon. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Raynaud's phenomenon: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Causes of Types of Raynaud's phenomenon:

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Raynaud's phenomenon: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Raynaud's phenomenon, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Raynaud's phenomenon Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for Raynaud's phenomenon employs a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at minimizing the risk factors and underlying causes of Raynaud's phenomenon. Preventive measures include regular medical care to monitor for and treat high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and ...Raynaud's phenomenon Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon may include:

Review further information on Raynaud's phenomenon Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Raynaud's phenomenon may include:

  • Dress warmly with many layers
  • Keep extremities extra protected
  • Foot powder
  • more treatments »

Medications or substances causing Raynaud's phenomenon:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Raynaud's phenomenon as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Raynaud's phenomenon: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Raynaud's phenomenon may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Raynaud's phenomenon: Deaths

Read more about causes and Raynaud's phenomenon deaths.

Raynaud's phenomenon: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Causes of Raynaud's phenomenon listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Raynaud's phenomenon as a symptom include:

Article Excerpts about Raynaud's phenomenon

A disorder of the small blood vessels of the extremities, causing coldness and reduced blood flow. In response to cold or anxiety, these vessels go into spasms, causing pain, the sensations of burning and tingling, and color changes. (Source: excerpt from Handout on Health Scleroderma: NIAMS)

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. This disorder is characterized by episodic attacks, called vasospastic attacks, that cause the blood vessels in the digits (fingers and toes) to constrict (narrow). Raynaud's phenomenon can occur on its own, or it can be secondary to another condition such as scleroderma or lupus. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers about Raynaud's Phenomenon: NIAMS)

Raynaud's Phenomenon is a Disorder of the small blood vessels that feed the skin. During an attack of Raynaud's, these arteries contract briefly, limiting blood flow. This is called a vasospasm. Deprived of the blood's oxygen, the skin first turns white then blue. The skin turns red as the arteries relax and blood flows again. Extremities--hands and feet--are most commonly affected, but Raynaud's can attack other areas such as the nose and ears. (Source: excerpt from NHLBI, Raynaud's Phenomenon: NHLBI)

Raynaudís phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and nose. This disorder is characterized by episodic attacks, called vasospastic attacks, that cause the blood vessels in the digits (fingers and toes) to constrict (narrow). (Source: excerpt from Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC)

A disorder of the small blood vessels of the extremities, causing coldness and reduced... (Source: excerpt from Handout on Health Scleroderma: NIAMS)

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears... (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers about Raynaud's Phenomenon: NIAMS)

Raynaud's Phenomenon is a Disorder of the small blood vessels that feed the ... (Source: excerpt from NHLBI, Raynaud's Phenomenon: NHLBI)

Raynaudís phenomenon is a disorder that affects the blood vessels in the fingers, toes... (Source: excerpt from Raynauds Phenomenon: NWHIC)

Definitions of Raynaud's phenomenon:

WHAT: Raynaud's phenomenon. Raynaud's Phenomenon: the paroxysmal constriction of the small arteries and arterioles of the hands or feet, usually precipitated by cold or emotional upset, resulting in pallor and cyanosis of the fingers or toes following a characteristic pattern. WHY: Raynaud's phenomenon may occur in mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, progressive systemic sclerosis, poly- myositis/dermatomyositis, and rheumatoid arthritis associated with Sjogren's syndrome. HOW: In Raynaud's phenomenon there are three classic color changes of the fingers or toes. First, vasoconstriction results in a white blanching of the fingertips. Second, vasodilatation with sludging of vascular flow follows and results in blue, cyanotic digits. Finally, with recovery, there is increased blood flow with resulting erythema of the fingers. With observation of two of the three color changes, Raynaud's phenomenon is considered present. Local body cooling (by placing the hands in ice cold water) may demonstrate Raynaud's phenomenon, but some cases require general body cooling before the characteristic color phases occur. Permanent tissue damage can be induced by this testing, which therefore must be done only when absolutely necessary. If the digits show persistent cyanosis or there is evidence of pre-existing necrosis, performing this test is especially hazardous. One or more digits may be involved in Raynaud's phenomenon, and this involvement may be unilateral. REFS: 1) Spittell, JA: "Raynaud's phenomenon and allied vasospastic disorders". In Juergens, JL et al. (eds.): Peripheral Vascular Diseases, pp. 555-83. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 1980. 2) Porter, JM; Snider, RL; Bardana, EJ; Rosch, J and Eidemiller, LR: The diagnosis and treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon. Surgery 77:11, 1975. DN19300-3.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Detailed list of causes of Raynaud's phenomenon

The list below shows some of the causes of Raynaud's phenomenon mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Raynaud's phenomenon?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Raynaud's phenomenon. Of the 89 causes of Raynaud's phenomenon that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 1 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 5 causes are "common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 4 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 81 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Raynaud's phenomenon:

The following list of conditions have 'Raynaud's phenomenon' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Raynaud's phenomenon or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Raynaud's phenomenon:

The following list of medical conditions have Raynaud's phenomenon or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

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  • Lupus ... Raynaud's phenomenon

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Causes of Raynaud's phenomenon Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Raynaud's phenomenon based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Raynaud's phenomenon:

    Medical Conditions associated with Raynaud's phenomenon:

    Finger symptoms (1615 causes), Toe symptoms (1171 causes), Hand symptoms (2016 causes), Foot symptoms (2265 causes), Limb symptoms (3592 causes), Skin symptoms (5992 causes), Skin color symptoms (2348 causes), Circulatory system symptoms (1579 causes), Skin problems (3422 causes), Lower leg symptoms (59 causes), Leg symptoms (2751 causes), Arm symptoms (1619 causes), Blood vessel symptoms (480 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Raynaud's phenomenon:

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