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Symptoms and Signs of Raynaud's Syndrome

Doctor's Notes on Raynaud's Syndrome

Raynaud's phenomenon (also called Raynaud syndrome) is a disorder in which the body’s blood vessels overreact resulting in over activity of smooth muscle in the wall of arteries, leading to spasms and narrowing of the small vessels that supply blood to the arms, legs, hands, feet, and sometimes the ears and nose.

Symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon cause color changes in the skin typically after exposure to cold temperatures. At first, the skin blanches (turns very white), then becomes blue as the oxygen in the involved tissue lowers. Blanching may occur in only one or two fingers, but it can occur in all fingers. The affected skin feels very cold. As the blood flow improves, the skin often becomes red and throbbing is felt. The areas suffering from lack of oxygen are well defined, usually occurring at joint lines. Other symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon include numbness in the fingers and occasional pain. Raynaud may also affect the toes, tip of the nose, nipples, lips, or earlobes. Raynaud's phenomenon attacks usually last a few minutes, but may sometimes last several hours.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.