What is raynaud phenomenon?


Know the basics

What is raynaud phenomenon?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition causing decreased blood flow to the fingers, toes, ears, and tip of the nos. It usually occurs with exposure to cold temperatures. Skin in the area first turn white then blue and the purple or red. These attacks may last from a fex minutes to several hours. Without treatment, sores or ulcers may develoop. With low blood flow for a long time, skin in affected areas could be permanently damaged.

How common is raynaud phenomenon?

Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs in all ages, but the majority of patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon are women at 20 to 40 years old. The disease usually occurs in cold climates.. You can  minimized the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of raynaud phenomenon?

Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon include:

  • Fingers lose color (turn white then blue and the purple or red)
  • Pain, tingling and numbness can occur when the areas turn white.
  • Some people have swelling, warmth or throbbing when the areas turn purple or red.
  • Toe, nose and ears can also be affected.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

See your doctor right away if you have a history of severe Raynaud’s and develop a sore or infection in one of your affected fingers or toes.. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes raynaud phenomenon?

There are two main types of Raynaud’s—primary and secondary.

In primary Raynaud’s (also called Raynaud’s disease), the cause isn’t known.

However, the doctor suspect that cold temperatures and mental pressure is major factors.

Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by an underlying disease, condition, or other factor, such as:

Diseases and conditions

Diseases and conditions that directly damage the arteries or damage the nerves that control the arteries in the hands and feet. For example, Raynaud’s occurs in most people who have scleroderma (skler-o-DER-ma). It also is a common problem for people with lupus.

Other examples of diseases and conditions that can cause Raynaud’s include:

  • Rheumatoid (RU-ma-toyd) arthritis
  • Atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-skler-O-sis)
  • Blood disorders such as cryoglobulinemia (KRI-o-GLOB-yu-li-NE-me-ah) and polycythemia (POL-e-si-THE-me-ah)
  • Sjögren’s (SHOW-gren’s) syndrome, dermatomyositis (DER-ma-to-mi-o-SI-tis), and polymyositis (POL-e-mi-o-SI-tis)
  • Buerger’s disease

Repetitive actions

Repetitive actions that damage the nerves that control the arteries in the hands and feet can lead to secondary Raynaud’s

Injuries to the hands and feet

Hand or foot injuries due to accidents, surgery, numbness or other reasons can lead to Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Exposure to certain chemicals

Exposure to certain workplace chemicals can cause a scleroderma-like illness that’s linked to Raynaud’s. An example of this type of chemical is vinyl chloride, which is used in the plastics industry.

The nicotine in cigarettes also can raise your risk of developing Raynaud’s.


Migraine headache medicines that contain ergotamine, Certain cancer medicines, such as cisplatin and vinblastine. Some over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines and diet aids, beta blockers and birth control pills can cause Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for raynaud phenomenon?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing Raynaud’s:

  • Family history. Primary Raynaud’s may occur in members of the same family.
  • Associated diseases. These include conditions such as scleroderma and lupus.
  • Certain occupations. People in occupations that cause repetitive trauma, such as operating tools that vibrate, may be more vulnerable to secondary Raynaud’s.

Smoke tobacco or use some drugs such as:

  • Beta blockers use for high blood pressure treatment
  • Migraine headache medicines that contain ergotamine
  • Medicines for hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder;
  • Chemicals use for chemotherapy
  • Some over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines and diet aids. Some of these medicines can narrow your arteries.

Not having risk factors does not mean you can not get hamstring strians. These factors are for reference only. You should consult  your doctor for more details.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is raynaud phenomenon diagnosed?

The doctor can make a diagnosis a medical history and physical examination. They may also use following tests:

Cold Stimulation Test: the doctor will put your hand into cold water to trigger Raynaud’s phenomenon. If you have Raynaud’s, it may take more than 20 minutes for your fingers to return to their normal temperature after have been taken out of the cold water.

Nailfold capillaroscopy: The dotor will  looks at your fingernail under a microscope to find abnormal arteries.

How is raynaud phenomenon treated?

The best way to manage the phenomenon is by a combination of therapies and prevention. Specifically, you must:

  • Keep your body warm, especially hands,  feet, ears and nose
  • If emotional stress seems to cause an attack, relaxation and biofeedback may help.
  • For severe condition, the doctor may prescribe calcium channel blockers (such as amlodipine) that can improve blood flow by decrease blood flow. If these medicines don’ help and symptoms are severe, surgery called sympathetomy may be suggested. This surgery involves cuttuing nerves that cause blood vessels to contract and decrease blood flow.
  • People who work out side or have jobs exposing the body to cold temperature should try to modify the job or look for anther job.

Most people lead fairly normal lives by following the doctor’s advice

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage raynaud phenomenon?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Raynaud’s phenomenon :

  • Keep your body warm, dress in layers, wear lined mittens rather than gloves, wear a hat and scarf, and always carry a sweater.
  • Use an oven mitt to get items out of the refrigerator and freezer, and warm the bathroom by letting warm water run before taking a shower or bath
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking causes skin temperature to drop by constricting blood vessels, which may lead to an attack. Inhaling secondhand smoke also can aggravate Raynaud’s.
  • Check your fingers, toes, nose and ears daily for new sores or infection.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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