What is Raynaud syndrome?
Raynaud syndrome is a problem with blood flow in your fingers and rarely your toes.
Blood vessels in your fingers close up too much
The ends of your fingers turn pale and blue and feel numb and tingly
It's most common in women ages 15 to 40
Raynaud syndrome can be caused by another health problem or happen just by itself
Sometimes, it's caused by a medicine you’re taking
Avoiding cold and stopping smoking can help prevent symptoms
What causes Raynaud syndrome?
Most of the time there's no clear cause of Raynaud syndrome. Symptoms happen more when you're cold and if you smoke. Emotional stress triggers symptoms in some people.
Sometimes Raynaud syndrome is caused by another disorder such as:
Rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Arthritis is a group of diseases that makes your joints hurt, swell up, and turn red. There are many different types of arthritis. RA is a type of arthritis in which your body's immune system... read more —an autoimmune disease that attacks your joints, causing swelling and pain
Systemic sclerosis Systemic Sclerosis Systemic sclerosis causes scarring in your skin, joints, organs, and blood vessels. Systemic sclerosis is rare It is more common in women than in men and usually happens in people ages 20 to... read more —an autoimmune disease that causes blood vessel problems and your skin to harden
Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis In people with atherosclerosis, patchy deposits of fatty material (atheromas or atherosclerotic plaques) develop in the walls of medium-sized and large arteries, leading to reduced or blocked... read more — blockage of your arteries by a buildup of fatty material
What are the symptoms of Raynaud syndrome?
Symptoms of Raynaud syndrome happen quickly and may last for a few minutes or for hours:
One or more fingers or toes turns pale or blue, usually in patches
Your fingers feel numb, tingly, painful, or burning
Warming your hands or feet will help symptoms go away.
How can doctors tell if I have Raynaud syndrome?
Doctors can usually tell you have Raynaud syndrome by examining you and asking you about your symptoms. To find out if another disorder is causing your Raynaud syndrome, they may do tests such as:
Ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography is a safe imaging test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the insides of your body. Ultrasonography doesn't use radiation (x-rays). Ultrasonography is also called... read more of blood vessels in your arm before and after you're exposed to cold
How do doctors treat Raynaud syndrome?
Doctors will treat any health problems causing your Raynaud syndrome.
To treat your symptoms, doctors will have you:
Dress warmly and avoid the cold
If you smoke, stop smoking
If you get symptoms when excited, do biofeedback therapy or take sedatives
Take medicines to widen your blood vessels, such as calcium channel blockers
As a last resort, doctors may do a procedure to cut certain nerves that control the size of your blood vessels. Even when this procedure helps, symptoms often come back in a year or two.