How Is Raynaud's Diagnosed?


Feb 22, 2014 (7 years and 10 months ago)


How Is Raynaud's Diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose primary Raynaud's (Raynaud's disease) or secondary Raynaud's (Raynaud's
phenomenon) based on your medical history, a physical exam, and test results.

Specialists Involved

Primary care doctors and
internists often diagnose and treat Raynaud's.

If you have the disorder, you also may see a rheumatologist. This is a doctor who specializes in
treating disorders of the joints, bones, and muscles.

Rheumatologists diagnose and treat many of the diseases th
at are linked to secondary Raynaud's,
such as scleroderma and lupus.

Medical History

Your doctor may ask about your

risk factors

for Raynaud's. He or she also may ask
about your signs
and symptoms when you're exposed to cold temperatures or stress.

For example, your doctor may ask whether your fingers or toes:

Feel numb or painful when they're exposed to cold temperatures

Turn white or blue, or both, when they're expose
d to cold temperatures

Physical Exam

Your doctor will look at your fingers and toes to check the health of your skin and nails and to check
blood flow to these areas.

Your doctor also may do a more complete physical exam to check for signs of diseases and
that are linked to secondary Raynaud's.

Diagnostic Tests and Procedures

Your doctor may recommend the following tests to check for Raynaud's and related conditions.

Cold Stimulation Test

A cold stimulation test can be used to trigger Raynaud's s
ymptoms. For this test, a small device that
measures temperature is taped to your fingers. Your hands are then exposed to cold

they're usually
briefly put into ice water.

Your hands are then removed from the cold, and the device measures how quickly your
fingers return
to their normal temperature. If you have Raynaud's, it may take more than 20 minutes for your
fingers to return to their normal temperature.

Nailfold Capillaroscopy

You may have a test called nailfold capillaroscopy (KAP
pe). Fo
r this test, your doctor
puts a drop of oil at the base of your fingernail. He or she then looks at your fingernail under a

If your doctor sees abnormal arteries, it may mean you have a disease linked to Raynaud's, such as

Other Te

Your doctor may use other tests to look for conditions that are linked to secondary Raynaud's.
Examples include antinuclear antibody (ANA), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or "sed rate"), and
reactive protein (CRP) tests.