What is Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition in which there are spasms, constriction and narrowing of the capillaries of the fingers and toes. Capillaries are tiny arteries, blood vessels 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 can lead to ischemia, which is a lack of blood flow to a part of the body. In ischemia, cells are unable to reproduce normally, recover effectively from injury, or fight infection. This can result in skin color changes, cold fingers and toes, and the development of sores or lesions that do not heal. Less commonly, Raynaud’s phenomenon can also affect the nose, lips and earlobes.

When diagnosed early, Raynaud’s phenomenon can often be successfully treated before the development of complications. Left untreated , Raynaud’s phenomenon can lead to gangrene (tissue death) in some cases. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon in the fingers or toes, such as unusual coldness, skin color changes, and the development of sores or lesions that do not heal.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Symptoms and complications of Raynaud’s phenomenon are due to constriction and narrowing of the capillaries of the fingers and toes. This can result in an insufficient supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissues. Less commonly, Raynaud’s phenomenon can also cause symptoms and complications in the nose, lips and earlobes.

Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon include:
Read more about raynaud’s phenomenonsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes Raynaud’s phenomenon?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. If the underlying cause of the symptoms is unknown, the condition is called Raynaud’s disease or primary Raynaud’s.

Known underlying diseases and disorders that can cause Raynaud’s phenomenon include certain autoimmune disorders, such a... Read more about raynaud’s phenomenoncauses

TREATMENTS

How is Raynaud’s phenomenon treated?

Raynaud’s phenomenon is treatable with regular medical care and consistent compliance with your treatment plan. The most effective treatment plan for Raynaud’s phenomenon employs a multifaceted approach that begins with lifestyle and medication changes and may require surgery in severe cases.

Treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon includes:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation