Raynaud syndrome

What is it?

This is a phenomenon in which vascular spasm in some peripheral areas of the body causes a temporary cessation of blood supply. The spasm is usually caused by exposure to cold. Most often the phenomenon affects the fingers and toes, but can also spread to other open areas (for instance, ears, nose).

The syndrome can occur independently (Raynaud’s essence). In this case, we are not talking about a real disease, but only about an unpleasant disorder, although it can be an indicator of concomitant systemic pathology (such as scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, mixed connective tissue disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis / polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis).

The disease got its name in honor of the French doctor A.G. Maurice Reynaud, who first described it in 1862. Without touching upon the true causes, which are debated to this day, Reynaud described not only the typical signs, such as pallor and cyanosis of the extremities, associated with changes in temperature, but also the likelihood of systemic damage.

Causes and risk factors

Women are more likely to get ill (the ratio of men and women is 9 to 1). The primary syndrome, as a rule, has a mild form. Secondary syndrome often occurs in adolescence and slowly progresses in the following decades.

Smoking significantly increases the severity of symptoms.

Some types of work, such as those involving the constant use of pneumatic hammers, seem to predispose to the development of this phenomenon.

Which are the symptoms?

The affected vessels undergo spasm, close for a short time (5-20 minutes), and reduce the amount of blood that supplies the affected areas. Episodes usually do not cause irreparable damage. Seizures are caused by touching cold objects, exposure to cold, or emotional factors. During an acute attack, the most common symptoms are:

  • swelling and tingling;
  • discoloration (first pallor, then cyanosis);
  • loss of sensitivity;
  • dull or throbbing pain in the extremities.

Secondary forms of Raynaud’s phenomenon may be associated with the formation of ulcers.


How is it diagnosed?

The disease is detected during a medical examination, collecting the patient’s medical history and microscopic examination of the vessels on the fingers (capillaroscopy)

Suggested exams

How is it treated?

  • prevention of exposure to sudden temperature changes;
  • quitting smoking cigarettes;
  • avoiding emotional stress.

Drug therapy includes vasodilators and prostanoids.

During the Raynaud’s episode, it is recommended to remain calm and move to a warm room, rub your fingers, wave your hands to improve blood circulation, and water the affected areas with warm (not hot) water.

Where do we treat it?

Within the San Donato Group, you can find Raynaud syndrome specialists at these departments:

Are you interested in receiving the treatment?

Contact us and we will take care of you.