Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association Awareness Campaign

Do you know someone whose hands and feet always feel cold? Do their hands and fingers sometimes go blue or white and then red and sore?

PLEASE DON’T IGNORE IT! It could be something else!

Raynaud’s Awareness Month (RAM) throughout February, aims to highlight the problems associated with Raynaud’s, that is estimated to affect over 10 million people in the UK (that’s 1 in 6 of us!).

Raynaud’s can affect anyone of any age – babies, young children, adolescents, mature adults and the elderly – those of all ages can experience distressing symptoms and struggle to keep warm.

During February 2016, the Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association (RSA) ‘Love Your Gloves’ campaignhasbeen sent to many GP’s practices, local hospitals, podiatrist clinics and chiropodists. Can you help with our awareness campaign by writing and sharing an article on the condition?

Although the wet, warm weather has reached headlines this Winter, millions of Raynaud’s sufferers have been struggling with painful fingers and toes. This condition affects an estimated one in six of the UK’s adult population. Cold temperatures can cause the blood supply to be temporarily prevented from reaching the extremities. Any slight change in temperature can cause an attack, during which time the fingers may change colour from white to blue to red. They become numb and extremely painful and can make life an absolute misery. Stress can also trigger Raynaud’s.

Cold hands and feet could be a symptom of something more serious. There are at least a dozen conditions which cause chronic cold hands, such as scleroderma.

Professor Chris Denton, a Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, explained: “Raynaud’s phenomenon is very common, with nine out of ten sufferers being female. It has a real impact on sufferers as it can make everyday activities like shopping, using keys, getting dressed etc. difficult.

“More importantly, Raynaud’s may be the first symptom of an underlying medical condition such as scleroderma, a rare, autoimmune connective disease. Therefore, Raynaud’s symptoms could offer the potential for early diagnosis and treatment of any underlying problems.

“Increased awareness of Raynaud’s is an important first step and so the RSA’s February Awareness Month is very timely. There is a growing understanding of the need to treat Raynaud’s and lessons are being learnt from other complications of Raynaud’s associated diseases but more research is needed,” added Professor Denton.

While there are various ways to help ease the severity of Raynaud’s – including medication to open up the blood vessels in more severe cases and natural products like ginger where it is milder – one of the best defences remains keeping warm. In addition, there are a number of heating aids which can help, microwavable and disposable versions, as well as other effective items such as gloves and socks made from silver woven fabric, which reflect the body’s heat back into the hands and feet, providing medical benefits and natural healing. Go online to www.rsa-shop.co.uk to view the range and other recommended products

The RSA would encourage anyone who suspects that they may have Raynaud’s to visit their GP for a diagnosis and to request a blood test to rule out any related conditions. Cold hands in some instances can be a symptom of something more serious.

A free information pack about fundraising for RSA, including leaflets giving tips on keeping warm and coping is available by calling Freephone 0800 917 2494. Email info@raynauds.org.uk or you can also download the information atwww.raynauds.org.uk/loveyourgloves