Who is affected by Raynaud's phenomenon?

It is estimated that up to 10% of adults are affected by one of two kinds of Raynaud's phenomenon:1

  • Primary Raynaud's(sometimes called Raynaud's disease) has no known cause and accounts for over 50% of Raynaud's cases. This type often begins between age 20 and age 40, and it occurs most often in women.2
  • Secondary Raynaud's (sometimes called Raynaud's syndrome) usually causes more severe symptoms and may develop as the result of other diseases, such as lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or atherosclerosis. Other causes of secondary Raynaud's include taking certain medicines, using vibrating power tools for several years, smoking, or having frostbite. Secondary Raynaud's often begins after age 35, and it affects both men and women.

Recent studies indicate that Raynaud's phenomenon is more common in children than was previously thought. One study concluded that symptoms of Raynaud's occur in children at about the same level as in adults.3


  1. Klippel JH (2008). Raynaud phenomenon. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1643–1648. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  2. Creager MA, Loscalzo J (2008). Raynaud's phenomenon section of Vascular diseases of the extremities. In AS Fauci et al., eds., Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1572–1573. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Jones GT, et al. (2003). Occurrence of Raynaud's phenomenon in children ages 12–15 years. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 48(12): 3518–3521.

Last Updated: July 7, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology

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