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What causes red fingertips?

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Red fingertips can be a symptom of Raynaud's disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. A flare-up of this disease is caused when the affected areas are exposed to cold temperatures or stress. Vasospasms, or blood vessel spasms, cause the fingertips to change color from white to blue and then to red.

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There are two types of Raynaud's disease, notes the Mayo Clinic. The most common type is called primary Raynaud's. It usually is not serious, as there is not an underlying disease or condition that causes blood vessels to go into spasm. The other type of the disease is called secondary Raynaud's. This type appears later on in life and is more serious, as it is usually caused by another condition such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or primary pulmonary hypertension.

It is important to be tested by a doctor if symptoms of the disease are present, and to identify which type of the disease exists. An antinuclear antibodies test and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate test are blood tests that are usually ordered to help diagnose Raynaud's, explains the Mayo Clinic. The results of these tests do not show whether or not a person has the disease, but are instead used to determine if he has a disease of the arteries that might be causing Raynaud's.

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