What Is Raynaud's Phenomenon?

Raynaud's phenomenon or, simply Raynaud's, is a disorder characterized by decreased blood flow - usually to the fingers, and less frequently to the ears, toes, nipples, knees, or nose. Vascular spasms usually occur as attacks in response to cold exposure or emotional upset.

Raynaud's can occur alone or may occur with other diseases. The diseases most frequently associated with Raynaud's are autoimmune or connective tissue diseases, among others, such as the following:

  • Systemic lupus erythematous (lupus)
  • Scleroderma
  • CREST syndrome (calcium skin deposits, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, telangiectasis)
  • Buerger's disease
  • Sjögren's syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Occlusive vascular disease
  • Polymyositis
  • Cryoglobulinemia

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