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Raynaud's Syndrome: Its Relationship To Arthritis

Raynaud’s is a circulatory disease which can be associated with many types of arthritis. Often, this problem causes the fingers (or toes) to turn white, blue, and finally red. This abnormality usually occurs when the fingers are exposed to the cold. However, the phenomenon can also occur under emotional stress, environmental changes, or drug exposure.

Raynaud’s is caused by a spasm involving the blood vessels. Once this spasm occurs, the blood supply to the fingers is impaired and they turn white. With continual lack of oxygen, the fingers turn blue. As the blood vessels expand, blood rushes in and the fingers turn red. Many patients with Raynaud’s experience little more than occasional discomfort in cold weather.

Due to its frequent association with arthritis, Raynaud’s is considered a rheumatologic condition. Types of arthritis associated with Raynaud’s include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and mixed connective tissue disease. Although many people with Raynaud’s may never develop arthritis, the occurrence of Raynaud’s may be a very early sign of arthritis. A comprehensive evaluation is always needed for anyone suffering from Raynaud’s. This is to determine whether an associated arthritic condition is present. If the symptoms are mild, little treatment may be needed. For more severe problems, medications are available and helpful.


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All medications have potential side effects, risks and interactions with other medications as well as over the counter drugs. Not all medications are right for all patients. You should always check with your physician or health care provider prior to the use of any medication.