Raynauds Disease and Phenomenon
|Constriction of Blood Vessels|
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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 atherosclerosis
- Injuries to the hands or feet, such as wrist fractures or frostbite
Certain medications, such as:
- Cancer chemotherapy
- Cold remedies
- Migraine medications containing ergotamine
- Estrogen-containing medications
Skin discoloration–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.
- 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 test
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Create Warmth for Fingers and Toes
- Run warm (not hot) water over fingers and toes as quickly as possible. However, do not place anything hot on your skin, as it may cause damage.
- If you are outside, move inside.
- Place your hands on a warm area of the body, such as under your armpits or on the abdomen.
Stimulate Blood Flow
- Calcium channel blockers
Treating Underlying Medical Condition
- 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, talk to your doctor about how to successfully quit.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consider using biofeedback training to control body temperature.
- Avoid the use of medications known to exacerbate Raynaud’s.
- Keep skin on fingers and toes protected.
- Avoid injuries.
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://www.heartandstroke.com
Goundry B, et al. Diagnosis and management of Raynaud’s phenomenon. BMJ. 2012;344:e289.
Raynaud phenomenon. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 27, 2012. Accessed April 3, 2013.
Raynauds phenomenom. Cedars Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Raynauds-Phenomenon.aspx. Accessed April 3, 2013.
Raynauds phenomenom. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Raynauds%5FPhenomenon/raynauds%5Fphenomenon%5Fff.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2013.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/07/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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