Raynaud’s Disease

Diagnosis

Finding out if you have primary or secondary Raynaud’s syndrome can be assisted by a number of diagnostic tests.

  • Physical examination: In addition to performing a physical examination, your healthcare provider inquiries about your symptoms and medical history. Tests may also be performed on you to rule out the possibility of other medical issues causing your symptoms.
  • Tests: The distinction between primary and secondary Raynaud’s disease can be made using a test known as nailfold capillaroscopy. The healthcare provider examines the skin at the base of each fingernail using a microscope or magnification to check for anything unusual. The blood vessels may enlarge as a result of this. You could have a connective tissue disease if the capillaries in that area are swollen or otherwise abnormal. This suggests that secondary Raynaud’s syndrome is most likely what you have.

Blood testing can assist in identifying if Raynaud’s disease is being caused by another condition, such as an autoimmune disease or a connective tissue disease. Among the blood tests for Raynaud’s disease are:

    • Antinuclear antibodies test (ANA) test: A positive test result frequently indicates that your body is being attacked by your immune system unintentionally. Individuals with connective tissue diseases or other autoimmune conditions frequently experience such immune system activation.
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): This test measures the speed at which red blood cells settle to the tube’s bottom. An inflammatory or autoimmune condition may be indicated by a faster than normal pace.
    • Other tests: A blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) looks for a number of condition. A urine examination used to detect various medical disorders, and a non-invasive test to measure blood flow in your arms and legs is pulse volume recording.

A single blood test cannot identify Raynaud’s disease. Finding a problem that may be connected to Raynaud’s disease could be made easier by additional testing, such as those that rule out artery conditions.

Treatment

The severity of your condition and whether you have the primary or secondary kind will determine how you are treated.

Mild Raynaud’s symptoms can usually be relieved by dressing in layers for the cold and wearing gloves or thick socks. More severe symptoms are treatable with medication. Treating the underlying illness or condition, preventing tissue damage, and minimizing the frequency and intensity of attacks are the main objectives of Raynaud’s treatment.

  • Medications: Treatment options for symptoms may include medications. The following medications may be used to treat patients with Raynaud’s disease:
    • Calcium channel blockers: These medications cause the hands and feet’s small blood arteries to relax and open. These medications are also helpful in the healing of nail or toenail lesions. Amlodipine, felodipine, isradipine, and nifedipine are a few examples.
    • Vasodilators: These medications dilate blood vessels. These include the antidepressant fluoxetine , the erectile dysfunction medication sildenafil, the high blood pressure medication losartan, and a class of medications known as prostaglandins.
    • Nitroglycerin ointment: This cream is applied to the fingers to help in the healing of skin ulcers.
  • Chemical injection: In the hands or feet that are affected, nerve blocks such as Botox or numbing medication injections may be necessary. If symptoms worsen or persist, some patients may need to have this more than once.
  • Surgery: Treatment for severe Raynaud’s disease may involve surgery.
    • Nerve surgery: Your healthcare provider might suggest a sympathectomy if other treatments for your severe Raynaud’s syndrome are ineffective. The hands and feet’s nerves regulate the skin’s blood vessels’ ability to open and close. Stopping these nerves prevents those reactions. During a sympathectomy, small nerves close to the damaged blood arteries are temporarily blocked or severed.

A healthcare provider removes microscopic nerves surrounding the blood vessels by making tiny incisions in the afflicted hands or feet. If this operation is effective, the number and duration of attacks may decrease.