The Incidence and Natural History of Raynaud's Phenomenon in the Community

Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Apr;52(4):1259-63. doi: 10.1002/art.20988.


Objective: Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) is a common disorder, yet its incidence and natural history are unknown. Our objective was to determine the incidence and natural history of RP not associated with a connective tissue disease in a large, community-based population.

Methods: Using serial examinations of the Framingham Heart Study offspring cohort, we collected data regarding RP symptoms for 717 women and 641 men over a 7-year period. We used validated criteria for RP classification and categorized participants as having incident, persistent, or remitted RP. We performed sex-specific analyses of RP status by age, body mass index, vibratory tool use, season of examination, state of residence, use of antihypertensive medications, and smoking status.

Results: The mean +/- SD age of participants was 53.5 +/- 10 years. The incidence of RP was 2.2% in women (n = 14) and 1.5% in men (n = 9). Of the 78 women and 50 men who had RP at baseline, 36% of women (n = 28) and 36% of men (n = 18) had persistent RP. RP remitted in 64% of women (n = 50) and 64% of men (n = 32), with 41 women and 25 men meeting no or only 1 RP criterion at followup. RP episodes were infrequent and rarely interfered with daily activities.

Conclusion: This is the first prospective study to determine the incidence and natural history of RP in a community-based cohort. Our data demonstrate that RP not associated with a connective tissue disease is frequently a transient phenomenon and rarely interferes with daily activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Medicine*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health*
  • Quality of Life
  • Raynaud Disease / epidemiology*
  • Raynaud Disease / etiology*
  • Raynaud Disease / pathology
  • Seasons
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Texas / epidemiology