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Raynaud's phenomenon and scleroderma

Last update Friday 26 February 2016

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disorder of the blood flow, which can affect the fingers, toes, but also and more rarely the nose, tongue and ears. It evolves through crises between which symptoms disappear more or less completely. During crises, the fingers turn white and insensitive, then blue and swollen before becoming red and painful and often resume their normal appearance. Factors that may cause seizures are a change in temperature, exposure to moisture, emotions, smoking, caffeinated drinks. In 80% of people with this phenomenon no cause is found. It is then called "Raynaud's disease". This disease is not serious but has an impact on quality of life. In some cases, Raynaud's phenomenon is associated with a disease or medications.

Secondary Raynaud's phenomenon can announce a disease, such as in the case of systemic sclerosis. It is an autoimmune disease characterized by the association of vascular problems (spontaneous injury on fingertips, some stiffening of arteries ...) and fibrosis of the skin and/or internal organs as lungs. There are different forms of the disease, from the less serious (and most common), without any impact on daily life or life expectancy, to the most severe with a significant risk of disabilities. In all cases, it is essential to make the diagnosis as early as possible to prevent the evolution of the disease and Raynaud's phenomenon is in this context a major red flag we need to know to interpret.