Raynaud's phenomenon: how to recognize it

Raynaud's phenomenon: how to recognize it

Raynaud's phenomenon involves a reduction in the diameter of the capillaries and manifests itself with pale or cyanotic fingers and toes

The Raynaud phenomenon was described by Maurice Raynaud in 1862 and is currently known more practically as that reaction to exposure to air and cold water which causes the fingers and toes to become red, blue and white.

The phenomenon practically consists in the more or less rapid reduction of the diameter of the capillaries of the hands and feet induced by the cold, and can occur with different severity depending on the health of the capillaries themselves. Obviously the phenomenon is more evident and frequent in winter than in summer.

What is the Raynaud phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon affects three to five percent of people and is identified in a primary (alone) or secondary form.

The first is generally not very serious, is often present in young girls and appears on average around 14-20 years.

The secondary phenomenon, on the other hand, is more frequent in women around 30-40 years of age and is almost always associated with autoimmune diseases, the most frequent of which is scleroderma.

What is Raynaud's disease

As for Raynaud's disease, the blood vessels contract, almost always due to contact with the cold or for any factor capable of activating the sympathetic system or releasing catecholamines, such as adrenaline, such as emotions.

In the initial stages of the pathology, the arteries are practically normal, while when the disease progresses, real lesions can occur on the innermost part of the arterial walls.


The clinical picture is manifested by two apparently contarious situations, namely with the fingers becoming pale or blue-violet, almost cyanotic. The color variations can be three-phase (pallor, cyanosis, redness) or provide only for the alternation between cyanosis and redness. Pain is uncommon during the attack, while paresthesias often occur, i.e. disturbances of nervous perception in the areas affected by the process. However, all you have to do is warm your hands to put the situation right.

The treatment

As for the general principles of treatment, the pathology in mild forms can be controlled simply by protecting yourself from the cold and by stopping smoking, because the nicotine of cigarettes tends to make the blood vessels narrow. But it's just general advice. It is important to be visited by those who can make a differential diagnosis and provide accurate information.

Category: Health
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