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Raynaud Phenomenon (cont.)

Raynaud's Phenomenon Causes

The classification of Raynaud's phenomenon is usually separated in two categories: idiopathic or primary Raynaud's, when no associated disease is identified; and secondary to other diseases (usually autoimmune).

  • Factors that can bring on Raynaud's phenomenon (all vasoconstrictive influences), include the following:
    • Cold or hot environments
    • Mental stressors
    • Certain occupations (vibration from tools, like jackhammers)
    • Smoking (nicotine is a stimulant/vasoconstrictor)
    • Chemical exposure (such as vinyl chloride)
  • Diseases causing Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Collagen vascular diseases: Seventy percent of patients with scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) develop Raynaud's phenomenon. Other disorders including systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, mixed connective tissue disease, or dermatomyositis/polymyositis are also commonly associated with Raynaud's phenomenon.
    • Arterial diseases, including atherosclerosis, thromboangiitis obliterans, or Buerger's disease, involving the small arteries and veins of the hands and feet also have an association with Raynaud's phenomenon.
    • Neurologic disorders: Thoracic outlet syndrome, with compression of nerves as they course through the neck and shoulder area, carpal tunnel syndrome, and occasionally stroke, intervertebral disk disease, and spinal cord tumors may produce Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Blood disorders that cause the blood to thicken or sludge (polycythemia)
    • Trauma
    • Miscellaneous disorders such as hypothyroidism
  • Medications that may cause or worsen Raynaud's phenomenon
    • These include ergot derivatives, used for migraine headaches (ergotamine), beta-adrenergic blockers, amphetamines or other drugs that constrict (make the blood vessels smaller), and some chemotherapeutic agents (vinblastine, bleomycin).
    • Birth control pills are also known to affect circulation.
    • Over-the-counter drugs for treatment of the common cold (Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine.)

Picture of Raynaud's phenomenon

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/16/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Raynaud Phenomenon »

Raynaud phenomenon refers to reversible ischemia of peripheral arterioles.

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