You may have spotted the photograph of my white finger tip over on Instagram yesterday? It sparked up a wee conversation around the topic of Raynauds Disease and I discovered that a few of my Instagram/Twitter friends are sufferers.
Raynauds Disease or Phenomenon is a condition that affects blood supply to parts of the body - typically the fingers and toes. The blood vessels go into a temporary spasm which blocks the flow of blood making the fingers go white (just like if you put on a plaster too tight, or if you are making a loom band bracelet on your fingers for example!). The finger then goes blue as the blood flow returns to it, and then red. Symptoms that are associated with the condition are pain, numbness and pins & needles which can last for a few minutes up to several hours. It tends to be triggered by cold weather, and I'm just reading that it can also be triggered by stress/anxiety.
It's not a serious condition in that it's not a threat to your health but it's annoying to live with.
I've had Raynauds for about a year now, and this winter it's been pretty bad. The photograph of my finger above is a good day... it's sometimes all my fingers! My toes also get affected, but it's not as bad/painful as my fingers.
There is treatment that you can take which your doctor would prescribe, but for the moment I'm managing without tablets. I don't really need anymore tablets to be honest, I already struggle to take the ones I'm supposed to for my Crohn's!
February, which is statistically the coldest month of the year, is Raynaud's Awareness Month - so I thought it was appropriate to write a post all about it here seeing as I'm a sufferer.
So how do I manage the condition? I thought I'd share with you a few bits of advice...
// Wear two pairs of socks.
// Get some cosy slippers - and put them on as soon as you get up.
// Central Heating - mine is set to come on before I get up so that the house is warm, particularly the bathroom.
// Shower - turn it on for a few minutes before you get in to warm up the bath/shower tray so you're not stepping onto a cold surface.
// Have a hot breakfast or lunch - some steaming porridge or a bowl of soup can help warm you up.
// Invest in some gloves - I've got a pair of mittens that are toasty warm!
// Electric Blanket - I was given one at Christmas from Rick and it's been the best present ever. It really does help warm up my hands and feet.
// Wellington Boots - make sure you have some shoes that are waterproof. There is nothing worse than having cold, wet feet. My current wellies are done in and are leaking, so it's time for a new pair. But I also have a pair of Goretex Clarks boots that I picked up in the sale this year.
// Hand warmers - I have little hand warmer that Rick also got me at Christmas but I need to make more of an effort to reactivate it so I can use it again. Just a pain that you've got to stick it in boiling water. Seems like a bit of a faff. But when I do use it, it's worth it.
// Give up smoking - this doesn't apply to me but apparently smoking reduces your body temperature and can make the symptoms worse
If you would like any more information on Raynauds, want to know how you can help in research projects or want to get involved in fundraising, go to raynauds.org.uk.
To donate, please text COLD15 and the amount (£5/£10) to 70070.