Strong emotions or exposure to the cold causes the fingers, toes, ears, or nose to become white, then turn blue. When blood flow returns, the area becomes red and then later returns to normal color. The attacks may last from minutes to hours.
People with primary Raynaud's phenomenon (no other cause or condition) have problems in the same fingers on both sides, but they do not have very much pain.
People with Raynaud's phenomenon associated with other medical conditions are more likely to have pain or tingling in different fingers. The pain is rarely severe. There may be ulcers on the affected fingers.
Your health care provider can usually make the diagnosis by examining you and asking questions about your health history. However, vascular ultrasound and a cold stimulation test for Raynaud's phenomenon may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Different blood tests may be done to diagnose arthritic and autoimmune conditions that may cause Raynaud's phenomenon.
Bakst R, Merola JF, Franks AG Jr., Sanchez M, Perelman RO. Raynaud's phenomenon: pathogenesis and management. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008;59:633-653.
Ferri FF, ed. Ferriâ€™s Clinical Advisor 2011. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010.
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