Raynaud Syndrome: What Is the “Raynaud’s Phenomenon?”

What Is Raynaud Syndrome?

raynaud phenomenon

Raynaud Syndrome, otherwise known as Raynaud’s Phenomenon, is a condition that causes spasms in the arteries or blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood flow to the fingers and toes. Others areas of the body, including the face, can also be affected. This most often happens as a response to cold temperatures or stressful situations. It is found more often in women and typically occurs between the ages of 15 and 25.


Raynaud Syndrome can begin randomly on its own, or it can develop as the result of an underlying condition. This can include, but is not limited to, the following underlying conditions:

  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sj√∂gren’s syndrome
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polymyositis
  • Mixed connective tissue disease
  • Cold agglutinin disease
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Anorexia
  • Artherosclerosis
  • Buerger’s disease
  • Takayasu’s arteritis
  • Subclavian aneurysms
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Certain medications
    • Beta blockers
    • Ciclosporin
    • Sulfasalazine
    • Anthrax vaccines
    • Stimulant medications
  • Lyme disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Malignancy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Erythromelalgia
  • Physical trauma


Primary Raynaud Syndrome

Primary Raynaud Syndrome is Raynaud Syndrome that is not the result of an underlying condition.

Secondary Raynaud Syndrome

Secondary Raynaud Syndrome is Raynaud Syndrome that is the result of an underlying condition or disease.

raynauds phenomenon


  • Cold fingers or toes
  • Numbness in fingers or toes
  • Blue/white fingers or toes
  • Pain in fingers or toes upon temperature changes


Raynaud Syndrome can be diagnosed by your primary care physician based on a thorough examination, assessment of your symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor may examine your fingertips and use a magnifying glass called a dermascope to look at the size of the blood vessels in your hand. They will likely order additional diagnostic tests to rule out certain underlying conditions.


Treatment for Raynaud Syndrome¬† focuses on managing symptoms an avoiding triggers. Wearing gloves and warm clothing can reduce the likelihood of Raynaud’s flares. Medications like calcium-channel blockers can widen tiny blood vessels and reduce the occurrences of Raynaud’s flares and the severity of symptoms.

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