Risk factors for Raynaud phenomenon and potential complications

Risk factors for Raynaud phenomenon and potential complications

Risk factors for Raynaud phenomenon include:

  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop Raynaud phenomenon. More research studies are required to determine all possible causes related to this.
  • Age: Onset of primary Raynaud phenomenon often occurs in adults under the age of 30. Secondary Raynaud phenomenon is more common in those over the age of 30 with the onset of symptoms typically becoming noticeable later.
  • Family history: Risk does tend to increase if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling, and even a child) has the condition. As many as a third or primary Raynaud phenomenon cases have a first degree-relative with similar symptoms.
  • Climate: Colder geographical areas of the world tend to have more instances of Raynaud phenomenon, than do those with warmer climates (although it is not impossible for symptoms to develop in warmer areas of the world).
  • Secondary Raynaud phenomenon risk factors: Associated diseases and conditions, repetitive vibrations and exposure to substances such as medications (including those used in chemotherapy treatments), chemicals (vinyl chloride often used in the plastics industry) and smoking habits are all linked to secondary Raynaud phenomenon. Oestrogen without additional progesterone is also linked with the onset of Raynaud phenomenon symptoms.

Complications of Raynaud's disease

Raynaud's is not classified as potentially life-threatening at all. Primary Raynaud phenomenon typically has a lower risk of long-term complications due to the fact that no other underlying illnesses are present in the body.

If any symptoms worsen, however, blood supply can become considerably restricted in the long-term (i.e. blood circulation can permanently diminish). This can lead to skin ulcers (if oxygen supply is completely cut off from affected areas), gangrenous tissue and deformities in the fingers and toes.

It rarely happens that symptoms for Raynaud's becomes severe, but if ulcers and gangrenous tissues occur, and attempts to treat these fail, amputation may be necessary.

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