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Raynauds Disease

Overview :

Raynaud's disease can be classified as one of two types: primary (or idiopathic) and secondary (also called Raynaud's phenomenon). Primary Raynaud's disease has no predisposing factor, is more mild, and causes fewer complications. About half of all cases of Raynaud's disease are of this type. Women are five times more likely than men to develop primary Raynaud's disease. The average age of diagnosis is between 20 and 40 years. Approximately three out of ten people with primary Raynaud's disease eventually progress to secondary Raynaud's disease after diagnosis. About 15% of individuals improve.

Secondary Raynaud's disease is the same as primary Raynaud's disease, but occurs in individuals with a predisposing factor, usually a form of collagen vascular disease. What is typically identified as primary Raynaud's is later identified as secondary once a predisposing disease is diagnosed. This occurs in approximately 30% of patients. As a result, the secondary type is often more complicated and severe, and is more likely to worsen.

Several related conditions that predispose persons to secondary Raynaud's disease include scleroderma, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and polymyositis. Pulmonary hypertension and some nervous system disorders such as herniated discs and tumors within the spinal column, strokes, and polio can progress to Raynaud's disease. Finally, injuries due to mechanical trauma caused by vibration (such as that associated with chain saws and jackhammers), repetitive motion (carpal tunnel syndrome), electrical shock, and exposure to extreme cold can led to the development of Raynaud's disease. Some drugs used to control high blood pressure or migraine headaches have been known to cause Raynaud's disease.

The prevalence of Reynaud's Phenomena in the general population varies 4-15%. Females are seven times more likely to develop Raynaud's diseases than are men. The problem has not been correlated with coffee consumption, dietary habits, occupational history (excepting exposure to vibration) and exposure to most drugs. An association between Raynaud's disease and migraine headaches and has been reported. Secondary Raynaud's disease is common among individuals systemic lupus erythematosus in tropical countries.

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