Diagnosing Raynaud's 

Raynaud's phenomenon can usually be diagnosed after an examination of your symptoms and some blood tests.

Your GP may place your hands in cold water or cool air to see if you show symptoms of Raynaud’s.

Further testing is usually recommended to find out whether you have primary or secondary Raynaud’s.

Secondary Raynaud’s may require more treatment and, in some cases, referral to a specialist.

Secondary Raynaud’s may be suspected if:

  • your symptoms only started when you were over 30 years of age – most cases of primary Raynaud’s begin between the ages of 20 to 30
  • you're experiencing severe pain during an attack of Raynaud’s
  • only one side of your body is affected

Your GP may also check the tiny blood vessels, known as capillaries, found where your nail meets the finger. These capillaries are often larger in people with secondary Raynaud’s, and look like red pen marks.

Blood tests

Your GP may also refer you for blood tests to check for other health conditions that could be causing your symptoms. These tests may include:

  • a full blood count – to check for infection or, much less commonly, a cancer of the blood, such as leukaemia
  • an antinuclear antibodies (ANA) test – to check for an overactive immune system, which is common in people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • erythrocyte sedimentation rate – to check for an autoimmune disorder

Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK)

If you've been diagnosed with Raynaud’s, Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK) may be helpful.

It is the UK’s leading charity for people affected by the condition.

Page last reviewed: 03/03/2015

Next review due: 01/03/2018