LOVE YOUR GLOVES for Raynaud's Awareness Month!
Do you know someone whose hands 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) in 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.
Those of you who don’t suffer may be wondering what Raynaud's is and why it’s an issue. Raynaud’s symptoms occur when small blood vessels in the body’s extremities become over-sensitive to even slight changes in temperature. The blood supply is temporarily disrupted – usually to fingers or toes, although ears, nose and other parts can go white, blue and red when they warm up. Pain, numbness and tingling are common experiences in an attack, which can be precipitated by exposure to something cold or even a slight change in temperature. Even experiencing stress or strong emotion can a trigger a painful Raynaud’s attack!
The condition has a real impact on daily life and can make everyday activities like shopping, using keys, holding cups, getting dressed - plus a myriad of other things most of us take for granted – very difficult.
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. When even reaching into the fridge can cause a painful attack, this isn’t always easy!
Those who have Raynaud’s can find it upsetting and frustrating, particularly when others don’t understand their condition. Lack of knowledge and awareness can mean the condition is trivialised by the public and the extent of how debilitating Raynaud’s can be can leave sufferer’s feeling isolated and alone.
Primary Raynaud’s can be experienced in mild forms to very severe forms. It generally exists without any association with another disease and is often hereditary. Secondary Raynaud’s is when a person shows signs of Raynaud’s but there is an underlying cause to these symptoms. This could be an autoimmune condition such as scleroderma.
In some cases secondary Raynaud’s could signify a form of arthritis (rheumatoid, inflammatory), it could indicate heart/ vascular problems or initial signs of more rare autoimmune, connective tissue disease (connective tissue is everything between the skin and bone) such as lupus.
If you suffer from cold hands, please don't ignore it, as some of the above diseases have silent phases, so you have few symptoms or know no pain until the disease is in it’s later stages. A few simple tests may be able to diagnose the above conditions much earlier, so we're encouraging you to go to your local GP and discuss any concerns you have.
Fancy fundraising for our cause? Your money will help us fund vital research into finding a cure for Raynaud’s and ensuring better treatments are developed sooner, to help people cope in life with Raynaud’s. Download our fundraising ideas here and raise money by organising ‘Love your Gloves’ events in the park, in the pub, at college, in your own home or care home, hospital or school.
Go online to www.rsa-shop.co.uk to view the range and other recommended products including heating aids, socks and Silver Fibre gloves which reflect 95% of the bodies heat back into your hands and are perfect for people with Raynaud’s or those who want to keep warm when cycling, fishing, riding or at work.
To make a difference donate today! Text COLD16 and the £amount (£5/£10) to 70070*
*Texts are charged at donation plus your network provider standard rate message.
#loveyourgloves to show your support and let others know about this condition