Commonly, February sees the nations hearts being warmed by the celebration of St Valentine’s Day, but let us turn some attention to all those cold hands too to raise awareness of Raynaud’s Disease!
February is National Raynaud’s Awareness Month where we are encouraged to educate others and ourselves about this under recognized, yet acutely serious problem. Seen as though February is said to be statistically the coldest month of the year, and 2018 has already seen some low temperatures in the UK, it seems a fitting topic to cover!
Raynaud’s Disease is more than just slightly cold hands when its icy out, it’s the extremely painful reaction to change in temperature and stress which causes tingling, discomfort and discoloration of extremities namely the fingers, toes, lips and nose!
Raynaud’s Disease is not only extremely painful, it can also be debilitating in terms of lifestyle and leisure pursuits, affect relationships, limit social activities (especially those outdoors!), effect mood and even lead to serious blood vessel damage!
Raynaud’s affects between 5-10% of the population, the overwhelming majority of Raynaud’s patients are women, for reasons not yet clearly understood. For many the cause of the condition remains a mystery, but some causation factors include stress, emotional changes, vibration, hormones and injury. Shockingly, only 1 in 5 sufferers will become aware their discomfort is medically related and actively seek treatment.
Sadly, for the 10 million people in the UK who struggle with the symptoms of Raynaud’s they are quite often met with unsympathetic responses to their issues and may not even be aware of the support and help available to them.
General advice for those with Raynaud’s Disease may be seen as common sense (Wear warm clothing especially gloves, avoid cold temperatures, eat healthily, exercise, don’t smoke, watch your stress levels) but if jetting off to a hot climate or living stress free (or even cigarette free) isn’t quite enough advice for you, don’t panic, but do seek support today! Although there is no cure, there is help available from your GP and support/advice from Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK including links to support groups in your area, webchats and resources.
This February is a great opportunity to open people’s eyes to this very real diagnosis, help signpost people to support and maybe even invest in some lifestyle changes to protect ourselves (perhaps even take up knitting to create our own unique protective wear!). Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK), are encouraging people to ‘#raiseyourhands’ in aid of Raynauds awareness month, so why not log onto www.sruk.co.uk to find out how you can make a difference!
For more information, to find out how you can help or to find out support near you, log onto:
by Natalie McCulloch