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According to the NHS, as many as 10 million Brits suffer from Raynaud’s disease, and most people with the condition don’t know they have it.
The charity Scleroderma and Raynaud’s UK (SRUK) state that Raynaud’s disease occurs as often as hayfever and arthiritis, but as few as 4% of the population have even heard of it.
In response to the public’s lack of awareness, SRUK have launched a new campaign to educate people on the cause, symptoms and treatments for Raynaud’s and scleroderma.
What is Raynaud’s disease?
It is a condition that affects the bloody supply to the extremities, in particular fingers and toes, and can be triggered by anxiety, stress and exposure to cold temperatures.
The blood vessels go into a temporary spasm which impedes the flow of blood, which makes the affected area turn white then blue before turning back to red when the blood supply returns.
If left untreated, Raynaud’s disease could lead to a more serious condition known as scleroderma.
Scleroderma is a rare disease of the immune system that can cause disability and be life-threatening. One of the first noticeable symptoms is the hardening of the skin as the body produces too much collagen.
Symptoms of Raynaud’s disease
- Skin colour changes
- Pins and needles
- Cold fingers and toes (other parts of the body that can be affected include the ears, nose, lips and nipples)
- Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming
How to treat and prevent Raynaud’s disease
- Avoiding the cold
- Wearing gloves and/or warm socks
- Stop smoking as it affects blood vessels
- Speak to your GP about taking medication such as Nifedepine
Visit sruk.co.uk for more information about Raynaud’s disease.