Raynaud’s disease

Raynaud’s disease

One of several primary arteriospastic disorders, Raynaud’s disease is characterized by episodic vasospasm in the small peripheral arteries and arterioles, precipitated by exposure to cold or stress. This condition occurs bilaterally and usually affects the hands or, less often, the feet.

Raynaud’s disease is most prevalent in women, particularly between puberty and age 40. A benign condition, it requires no specific treatment and has no serious aftereffects.

Raynaud’s phenomenon, however, a condition often associated with several connective tissue disorders—such as scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and polymyositis—has a progressive course, leading to ischemia, gangrene, and amputation. Differentiating the two disorders is difficult because some patients who experience mild symptoms of Raynaud’s disease for several years may later develop overt connective tissue disease—most commonly, scleroderma.


Although the cause is unknown, several theories account for the reduced digital blood flow: intrinsic vascular wall hyperactivity to cold, increased vasomotor tone resulting from sympathetic stimulation, and antigen-antibody immune response (the most probable theory, because abnormal immunologic
test results accompany Raynaud’s phenomenon).

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Jun 16, 2016 | Posted by in GENERAL & FAMILY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Raynaud’s disease

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