Raynaud’s Disease is a disorder affecting the small blood vessels in the body, most commonly in the hands and feet. Patients with Raynaud’s suffer from vasospasms, in which the smooth muscles controlling the flow of blood through small arteries contract and become abnormally constricted. The most common triggers for vasospasms are exposure to cold and stress. Women are more likely to suffer from Raynaud’s Disease.
While Raynaud’s Disease is independent of and unassociated with any other disease, a similar set of symptoms is classified as Raynaud’s phenomenon when there is another, underlying disease responsible for the vasospasm effect. Examples are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, and others.
Treatment for both forms of Raynaud’s is preventative. Patients are advised to protect their extremities when exposed to cold temperatures, exercise to maintain healthy blood circulation, and avoid smoking.