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The condition causes painful, pale, cold extremities. This is often distressing, impinges on quality of life, and is potentially dangerous
Unilateral Raynaud's, or that which is present only in the hands or feet, is almost certainly secondary, as primary Raynaud's is a systemic condition. However, a patient's feet may be affected without their realizing.
In pregnancy, this sign normally disappears due to increased surface blood flow.
A careful history will often reveal whether the condition is primary or secondary. Once this has been established, investigations are largely to identify or exclude possible secondary causes.
* Digital artery pressure: pressures are measured in the digital arteries before and after cooling the hands. A drop of 15mmHg or more is diagnostic.
* Doppler ultrasound: to assess flow
* Full blood count: this can reveal a normocytic anaemia suggesting the anemia of chronic disease or renal failure
* Urea & Electrolytes: this can reveal renal impairment
* Thyroid function tests: this can reveal hypothyroidism
* An autoantibody screen, tests for rheumatoid factor, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein, which may reveal specific causative illnesses or a generalised inflammatory process
* Nail fold vasculature: this can be examined under the microscope
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other
qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.