October 10, 2015

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Raynaud's Phenomenon

What causes Raynaud's phenomenon?

The causes of primary and secondary RP are unknown. Both abnormal nerve control of the blood-vessel diameter and nerve sensitivity to cold exposure have been suspected as being contributing factors. The characteristic color changes of the digits are in part related to initial blood-vessel narrowing due to spasm of the tiny muscles in the wall of the vessels, followed by sudden opening (dilation), as described above. The small arteries of the digits can have microscopic thickness of their inner lining, which also leads to abnormal narrowing of the blood vessels.

What conditions have been associated with Raynaud's phenomenon?

Raynaud's phenomenon has been seen with a number of conditions, including rheumatic diseases (scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and mixed connective tissue disease), hormone imbalance (hypothyroidism and carcinoid), trauma (frostbite, vibrating tools), medications (propranolol [Inderal], estrogens without additional progesterone, bleomycin [Bleoxane] used in cancer treatment, and ergotamine used for headaches), nicotine, and even rarely with cancers. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 7/11/2014