*Condition which affects the blood supply to the toes and/or fingers in response to cold
*Classified into primary and secondary forms of the condition
*The primary form is idiopathic and the cause is unknown, while the secondary form is typically associated with an underlying condition
*Consists of digits which become numb and white when exposed to cold, and then turn blue during rewarming
Raynaud phenomenon is a condition which affects the blood supply to the toes and/or fingers in response to cold. The condition consists of digits which become numb and white when exposed to cold. Affected digits turn blue as the area rewarms, and may turn red afterward to increased blood flow. The condition is typically accompanied by moderate to severe pain.
Raynaud phenomenon is divided into two classifications based on the cause of the condition, primary and secondary. Primary raynaud phenomenon is idiopathic and its cause is unknown. Secondary Raynaud phenomenon is typically associated with an underlying condition, including diseases of the arteries or connective tissues, drug reactions, and nerve disorders. Additionally, secondary raynaud phenomenon may develop in occupations which require consistent use of vibrating tools or as a result of conditions which increase blood thickness.
Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Acute Myelogenous Leukemia
Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome and Pregnancy
*Initial diagnosis based on clinical examination
*Blood tests may be performed to confirm diagnosis and check for associated conditions
*Nail fold capillary microscopy may be performed to determine what form of the condition is extant
Raynaud phenomenon is typically diagnosed based on clinical examination. Blood tests may be performed to confirm the diagnosis and to check for more serious associated conditions. Additionally, nail fold capillary microscopy may be performed to determine whether the condition is primary or secondary
*Self-care measures are important in managing the condition
*Certain medications may provide help, especially for the primary form of the condition
*Surgical or other treatments may be required in severe cases
The primary method of managing raynaud phenomenon is avoiding cold exposure, and thus self-care measures are extremely important. Avoiding cold exposure via protective clothing, hand and foot warmers and ensuring your home is properly insulated are among those measures which may help to avoid attacks. Medications such as calcium channel blockers may be useful in treating symptoms, especially in the primary form of the condition. Severe cases may be treated intravenously with prostacyclin, and in rare cases sympathectomy, a surgical procedure in which certain nerves are cut to reduce blood flow restriction, may be utilized.