If you often experience cold hands, feet, fingers and toes, you could be one of the 10 million people in the UK affected by Raynaud’s Phenomenon
What is Raynaud’s?
Raynaud’s is a chronic and incurable condition that may be linked to another, more serious autoimmune disease. You may not realise that you have Raynaud’s, however it is essential to find out; to help you control the symptoms and crucially, rule out any underlying causes.
The latest research released by national charity Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK highlights a shocking lack of awareness surrounding Raynaud’s. It reveals that millions of people would simply dismiss their symptoms, with almost half of us failing to recognise them at all.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms are caused by changes in the extremities: usually the hands, feet, fingers and toes, often in response to cold temperatures or stressful situations.
•Cold fingers and toes
•Colour changes in the affected area to white, then blue and then red
•Numbness, tingling or pain
•Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming up
When we are exposed to the cold, blood vessels become narrower. With Raynaud’s, this can be more extreme and blood flow is restricted, causing noticeable colour changes to the skin: from white to blue and finally to red as the circulation returns. This is a Raynaud’s attack, which can be very painful. It is not just cold weather that could trigger an attack; sometimes just reaching into the fridge is all that it takes.
There are two types of Raynaud’s
Primary Raynaud’s is the most common form that is not linked to any other health conditions. Secondary Raynaud’s accounts for around 10% of cases and will be associated with another autoimmune disease such as scleroderma, which may become serious and will require specialist care.
Take the test
If you recognise these symptoms, we have developed a quick and easy online test that is available at sruk.co.uk/testme. Most people receive results within 60 seconds, along with information about what to do next.
Steph, 39, says: “I’ve always suffered with cold feet, hands and other extremities like my ears and nose, but because my sister had the same sort of symptoms, I thought it was just who we were. When I was younger, I would have to be really, really, really cold for my hands, feet, ears and nose to hurt. Now, it doesn’t take a lot for them to start hurting. If I don’t wear gloves it’s painful and I can’t grip stuff, but the bits that hurt the most are probably my nose and ears because I can cover everything else up.”
Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK is the only charity dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by Scleroderma and Raynaud’s. We exist to improve awareness and understanding of these conditions and to support those affected, and we fund research to ultimately find a cure.