Medical Definition of Raynaud's disease

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Raynaud's disease: A condition that results in discoloration of the skin on the fingers and/or toes when a person is exposed to changes in temperature or to emotional events. Raynaud's disease, also known as primary Raynaud's phenomenon, can accompany other diseases; when it does, it is called Raynaud's phenomenon or secondary Raynaud's phenomenon. The skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply. Initially, the digits involved turn white because of diminished blood supply, and then they turn blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen. Finally, the blood vessels reopen, causing flushing that turns the digits red.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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