Your family doctor or general practitioner will likely be able to diagnose Raynaud's based on a description of your signs and symptoms. In some cases, however, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the joints, bones and muscles (rheumatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
Information to gather in advance:
- List your signs and symptoms. Your doctor will want to know when you first noticed these signs and symptoms and what seems to trigger their appearance.
- Note any other medical conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Your doctor will be especially interested to know if you've been diagnosed with a disorder commonly associated with Raynaud's, such as scleroderma, lupus or Sjogren's syndrome.
- Make a list of your medications. Include any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking, as well as all vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
If any additional questions occur to you during your visit, don't hesitate to ask. Some questions to consider include:
- Do I have Raynaud's?
- Is my condition considered primary or secondary?
- Am I at risk of complications from this condition?
- What treatment approach do you recommend, if any?
- What self-care steps can I take to reduce the risk of a Raynaud's attack?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together with Raynaud's?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
Oct. 20, 2011
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- During a Raynaud's attack, do your fingers or toes change color or feel numb or painful?
- Does cold or stress seem to trigger an attack?
- Does anything else seem to bring on your symptoms?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- Are you currently taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications?
- Has anyone else in your family been diagnosed with Raynaud's?
- Do you exercise regularly?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you use caffeine?
- What do you do for a living and for recreation?
- How do you manage stress?
- What else concerns you?
- Questions and answers about Raynaud's phenomenon. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Raynauds_Phenomenon/default.asp. Accessed Aug. 2, 2011.
- Raynaud's disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/raynaud/ray_all.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2011.
- Wigley FM. Nonpharmacologic therapy for the Raynaud phenomenon. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2011.
- Wigley FM. Pharmacologic and surgical treatment of the Raynaud phenomenon. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2011.
- Sayeed SM, et al. Raynaud's phenomenon. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2012. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8&isbn=978-0-323-05611-3&uniqId=270492172-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05611-3..C2009-0-38601-8--TOP. Accessed Aug. 2, 2011.
- Natural product effectiveness checker results: Raynaud's syndrome. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 9, 2011.