History Symptoms Prevalence Epidemiology Raynauds? Treatment References

Symptoms of raynauds


The condition can cause pain within the affected extremities, discoloration (paleness) and sensations of cold and/or numbness. This can often be distressing to those who are not diagnosed, and sometimes it can be obstructive. If someone with Raynaud's is placed in too cold a climate, it could potentially become dangerous.

The symptoms include several cyclic color changes:

  1. When exposed to cold temperatures, the blood supply to the fingers or toes, and in some cases the nose or earlobes, is markedly reduced; the skin turns pale or white (called pallor), and becomes cold and numb.
  2. When the oxygen supply is depleted, the skin colour turns blue (called cyanosis).
  3. These events are episodic, and when the episode subsides or the area is warmed, the blood flow returns and the skin colour first turns red (rubor), and then back to normal, often accompanied by swelling, tingling, and a painful "pins and needles" sensation.

All three colour changes are observed in classic Raynaud's. However, not all patients see all of the aforementioned colour changes in all episodes, especially in milder cases of the condition. Symptoms are thought to be due to reactive hyperemias of the areas deprived of blood flow.

Sufferers can gain some relief from the symptoms by using heated clothing such as gloves, gloveliners, socks, mittens.

In pregnancy, this sign normally disappears due to increased surface blood flow. Raynaud's has also occurred in breastfeeding mothers, causing nipples to turn white and become extremely painful. Nifedipine, a calcium channel blocker and vasodilator was recommended to increase blood flow to the extremities and noticeably relieved pain to the breast, in an extremely small study group.


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