Raynaud’s disease is a condition which affects blood flow. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing them to be cold and change colors—turning white, purple, and red. These color changes are due to sudden contractions of blood vessels, which severely reduce blood flow to the extremities. White color changes occur when there is no circulation in the digit, then purple and red color changes follow as the blood flow returns. In Raynaud’s, blood flow will return, but if blood flow is impaired for a prolonged period, there can be tissue damage.
Although it is uncertain why people develop Raynaud’s, there are some risk factors associated with the disease, including:
The following are the most common symptoms of Raynaud's, but each patient may experience symptoms differently:
Our team will look to diagnose Raynaud’s by way of the following:
With Secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon, it’s also important to identify – and treat – the underlying autoimmune or other disorder that may be causing Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Following a thorough evaluation, the physician team will develop a treatment plan based on the type and extent of the disease, the patient’s overall health, and the patient’s preferences.
Although there is no cure for Raynaud’s, it normally can be well managed with appropriate treatment, such as:
The Raynaud’s Disease Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is one of only a few clinics in New England exclusively dedicated to the evaluation and treatment of patients with Raynaud’s disease (Raynaud’s phenomenon). A multidisciplinary team of vascular medicine, rheumatology, pulmonary vascular, plastic surgery, and other medical specialists collaborate to provide the most appropriate and effective care for patients with Raynaud’s.
To learn more about our rheumatology services or to make an appointment with a Brigham and Women’s Hospital rheumatologist, contact one of our trained coordinators at 1-800-294-9999 to get connected with the best doctor for your needs.
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