Facts about Raynaud’s Disease

Raynaud’s disease is a condition related to arthritis and occurs when blood vessels constrict. The constriction of the blood vessels can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in the affected area as well as some discolouration to the skin.

Raynaud’s has been known to occur as both a primary and as a secondary condition. When Raynaud’s occurs as a primary condition it is not related to any other disease and is referred to as Raynaud’s disease. When Raynaud’s occurs as the secondary condition and related to other health problems it is referred to as Raynaud’s phenomenon. A primary condition of Raynaud’s is more common than a secondary condition and is usually less severe.

The cause of Raynaud’s phenomenon is still not entirely understood. It is known that the constriction of blood vessels which causes Raynaud’s can be caused by exposure to the cold as well as excessive stress. Tests are also being carried out to see if there could be a genetic link to Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon has been linked with

  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Polymyositis

Vasospasm which can occur during a Raynaud’s attack will usually last 15 minuets but some people have been known to have them last anywhere between a minute and several hours. Other symptoms include swelling, pain, tingling, numbness, throbbing and discolouration. In Raynaud’s disease both hands and feet are usually affected while in Raynaud’s phenomenon. Fingers and toes are the most common sites affected. Raynaud’s has also been known to affect the ears, nose, nipples and knees.

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