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Raynaud’s Phenomenon. By: Alison Cunliffe. What is Raynaud’s Disease. Condition resulting in a series of discolorations of the fingers and/or toes after exposure to changes in temperature (hot or cold) or emotional events.

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raynaud s phenomenon

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

By: Alison Cunliffe

what is raynaud s disease
What is Raynaud’s Disease
  • Condition resulting in a series of discolorations of the fingers and/or toes after exposure to changes in temperature (hot or cold) or emotional events.
  • Skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissues.
      • First the digits turn white because of the diminished blood supply
      • Second they turn blue because of the lack of oxygen
      • Last the blood vessels reopen causing the blood to flush back in which causes digits to turn red.
  • Cause is unknown.
  • Both abnormal nerve control of blood vessels and nerve sensitivity to cold exposure have been suspected as being contributing factors.
  • All vary on the severity, frequency, and duration of the spasm
  • Most include:
    • Skin discoloration
    • Mild tingling and numbness (disappears when color returns)
  • When spasms become more sustained sensory nerves become irritated by the lack of oxygen and can cause pain.
  • Rarely symptoms from poor oxygen supply to the tissue can cause tips of digits to ulcerate.
  • Sometimes there are certain patterns in the tiny blood vessels adjacent to the fingernails in patients with RP that can be seen with a magnifying viewing instrument.
  • There is no blood test to help doctor to determine if you have RP
  • Doctors can also perform certain maneuvers with the patient’s extremities to exclude pinched blood vessels that can produce symptoms that mimic RP such as in thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • No prevention
  • Things you can do to help RP
    • Protect fingers and toes from cold, trauma, and infection
    • Medication that can aggravate blood vessel spasm should be avoided by patients with RP
    • Persistent symptoms- medications that dilate the blood vessels can be administered
    • Keep body warm!
  • With a relatively small chance (1%) of serious complications, approximately half of all affected individuals do well by taking simple precautions, and never require medication.