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Reynaud's Phenomenon or Disease

Raynaud's Disease (or Raynaud's Phenomenon) is a condition in which the blood supply to the extremities is interrupted. Where occupational factors play a part, this usually means a constriction of the blood vessels in the hand leading to symptoms such as pain, tingling and discolouration in the fingers and thumb.

It is frequently considered a condition of the nervous system due to involvement of the nerves controlling the arteries to the fingers.

Raynaud's Disease was named after Dr Maurice Raynaud who in 1862 wrote a thesis entitled De L' Asphyxia Locale et de la Gangrene Symetrique des Extremities.

It is peripheral vascular disturbance probably due to abnormal activity of the vasoconstrictor nerves which leads to constriction of the arteries in the fingers and thumb, precipitated by cold, emotion and by many other factors (see Vibration White Finger).

The digits become blanched, painful and cold and in severe cases it can lead to gangrene. It also follows any hand surgery in about 2% to 3% of patients and there is no way of predicting who will be affected.

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