Raynaud’s Awareness Month highlights a condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body such as the fingers and toes.
It is known as Raynaud’s disease, Raynaud’s syndrome or Raynaud’s. It affects up to 20% of the adult population, worldwide. In the UK there may be as many as 10 million people living with the condition. Primary Raynaud’s usually begins in your 20s or 30s.
Secondary Raynaud’s depending on the cause can start at any age. Secondary Raynaud’s is associated with conditions that cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue resulting in conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
It can be triggered by stress or anxiety and cold temperatures. It happens when the blood vessels go into temporary spasm, which blocks the flow of blood, resulting in poor blood circulation. The affected area will then change colour to white, then blue and as the blood flow returns back to red again.
As part of the condition, you may also experience numbness, pain and pins and needles. Symptoms may last several minutes to several hours. For those of you have it, it’s not a serious threat but it can be annoying because it may be difficult to use your fingers. Sometimes the condition may just go away.
Other parts of the body that could also be affected by Raynaud’s include the nose, lips, nipples and ears. To control its symptoms, avoid the cold, wear gloves and use relaxation techniques when feeling stressed. If you’re a smoker stop smoking because that can affect your circulation.
It is more common in women than it is in men.