Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may also run tests to rule out other medical problems that may cause similar signs and symptoms, such as a pinched nerve.
Sorting out primary vs. secondary Raynaud's
To distinguish between primary and secondary Raynaud's, your doctor may perform an in-office test called nail fold capillaroscopy. During the test, the doctor examines your nail fold — the skin at the base of your fingernail — under a microscope. Tiny blood vessels (capillaries) near the nail fold that are enlarged or deformed may indicate an underlying disease. However, some secondary diseases can't be detected by this test.
If your doctor suspects that another condition, such as an autoimmune or connective tissue disease, underlies Raynaud's, he or she may order blood tests, such as:
- Antinuclear antibodies test. A positive test for the presence of these antibodies — produced by your immune system — may indicate a stimulated immune system and is common in people who have connective tissue diseases or other autoimmune disorders.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate. This test determines the rate at which red blood cells settle to the bottom of a tube. A faster than normal rate may signal an underlying inflammatory or autoimmune disease.
There's no single blood test to diagnose Raynaud's. Your doctor may order other tests, such as those that rule out diseases of the arteries, to help pinpoint a disease or condition that may be associated with Raynaud's.
Oct. 07, 2014
- Wigley FM. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of the Raynaud phenomenon. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 20, 2014.
- 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. 20, 2014.
- Wigley FM. Initial treatment of the Raynaud phenomenon. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 20, 2014.
- Raynaud's disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/raynaud/ray_all.html. Accessed Aug. 20, 2014.
- Malenfant D, et al. The efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine in the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon: A literature review and meta-analysis. Rheumatology. 2009;48:791.
- Natural product effectiveness checker: Raynaud's syndrome. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 28, 2014.
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