Raynaud phenomenon is a problem with the blood vessels. It causes blood flow problems to the fingers ears, nose, and lips.
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Primary Raynaud phenomenon is the most common form. It is not linked to another medical issue.
Secondary Raynaud phenomenon is linked to another disease. It is most often linked to systemic scleroris, a joint disease, blood disorder, or blocked arteries.
Blood vessels should narrow with cold temperatures or emotional stress. In Raynaud, the blood vessels narrow too much. Blood flow to tissue past this area is severely slowed. Fingers are affected most often.
The exact cause of this overreation is not known. Primary Raynaud may be caused by a problem of the nervous system. Secondary Raynaud is thought to be caused by the linked disease.
Raynaud is more common in females. It tends to show between ages 15 to 40 years old. Factors that may increase your chance of Raynaud include:
Raynaud symptoms occur in attacks. They may last a few minutes to a few hours. It is often a reaction to cold or emotional distress. During an attack, symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Treatment can lower the number of attacks. It may also decrease how severe they are. Treating the related medical issue will help to manage secondary Raynaud.
Other steps for primary or secondary include:
Home care steps can help to ease symptoms during an attack:
Steps can also help to prevent attacks:
Medicine may help to ease symptoms that do not respond to home care. Blood vessel size can be increased with one of the following:
Medicine that is causing problems may need to be stopped or switched.
Nerves control the size of blood vessels. Procedures to destroy or stop the nerves may be needed if other steps have not worked. Options include:
There are no current guidelines for preventing Raynaud phenomenon.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
The Arthritis Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Herrick AL. Evidence-based management of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Ther Adv Musculoskeletal Dis. 2017;9(12):317-329.
Raynaud phenomenon. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115788/Raynaud-phenomenon. Updated November 28, 2018. Accessed September 10, 2019.
Raynauds phenomenon. Cedars Sinai website. Available at: http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Health-Conditions/Raynauds-Phenomenon.aspx. Accessed September 10, 2019.
Raynaud's phenomenom. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Raynauds_Phenomenon/raynauds_phenomenon_ff.pdf. Accessed September 10, 2019.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD Last Updated: 9/10/2019