To diagnose Raynaud's, the doctor considers a person's medical history, physical exam results, and findings from certain tests, such as nailfold capillaroscopy. It can be difficult to identify the exact form of Raynaud's a person has. Qualifying criteria that distinguish a primary Raynaud's diagnosis from the secondary form include: normal versus abnormal nailfold capillary pattern and a negative versus positive ANA test.
To help in diagnosing Raynaud's phenomenon, the doctor will first gather a detailed medical history, which includes asking questions about a person's:
- General health
- Family medical history
- Alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- Use of drugs or medications.
The doctor will also perform a complete physical exam and check for symptoms of Raynaud's. Certain tests may also be recommended.
Tests the doctor may recommend to confirm a Raynaud's diagnosis include:
- Nailfold capillaroscopy
- Blood tests.
A nailfold capillaroscopy is the study of capillaries under a microscope. This test can help the doctor distinguish between primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon.
During this test, the doctor puts a drop of oil on the patient's nailfolds, the skin at the base of the fingernail. The doctor then examines the nailfolds under a microscope to look for abnormalities of the tiny blood vessels called capillaries. If the capillaries are enlarged or deformed, the patient may have a connective tissue disease.