Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition based on spasm of small diameter blood vessels, the provoking factor of which is low environmental temperature and emotional stress. Raynaud’s phenomenon is clinically manifested by changes in the color of the fingers or toes, accompanied by pain, numbness, and decreased sensitivity.

There are two types of Raynaud’s phenomenon: primary (often referred to as Raynaud’s disease) and secondary (known as Raynaud’s syndrome).

Primary Raynaud's Phenomenon

When the pathology exists independently and is not related to another disease. It mainly occurs at a young age (adults and under 30 years of age) and predominantly in women. Primary Raynaud’s phenomenon is not a life-threatening condition, but it can cause a decrease in the quality of life. The course of the disease is generally mild and may self-regress over time.

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Secondary Raynaud's Phenomenon

When the pathology is accompanied by another disease

  • Autoimmune diseases (scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Hematological diseases (cryoglobulinemia, paraneoplastic syndrome)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Atherosclerosis, vasculitis, obliterating thromboangiitis, thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Medicines (cocaine, nicotine, interferon, some drugs used during chemotherapy)
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Diabetes mellitus

Secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by a more severe course, and as a complication, ulcers and necrosis may develop on the fingers.

Confirming the diagnosis and identifying the type of Raynaud’s phenomenon is important in planning treatment. Primary Raynaud’s phenomenon often does not require the inclusion of drugs in the treatment, and mainly the correct definition of lifestyle is important (avoid being in the cold, wear warm gloves and socks, stop smoking), in case the symptoms worsen the quality of life, the issue of drug treatment is considered. In the case of secondary Raynaud’s, the treatment is more difficult and complex, the most important thing is to treat the underlying disease.