Do you recognise these white dipped finger tips? Raynaud´s disease is not a widely spoken about condition and therefore, many people suffer in silence. However, I would like to bring it to light, as I too have had to experiment in the winter months to prevent it from occurring. Here I share a few tricks I have learnt to deal with the onset of Raynaud´s disease.
What is Raynaud´s disease?
Raynaud´s is not a fatal disease by any means. It is a short term loss of blood flow to the fingers and/ or toes. Typically thought to be a disease associated with the colder climates in men and women, unfortunately for us women, we are most commonly affected. This may be due to our naturally high levels of oestrogen, however, further research is still needed to pin point the exact physiology behind the disease.
What are the symptoms of Raynaud´s disease?
Raynaud´s disease is characterised by cold numbing of the extremeties that typically turn white, purple and/ or blue due to the lack of blood flow. Following a few episodes from exposure to extreme temperature changes or stress, the extremeties most typically become itchy and inflammed even when warm, resulting in a very uncomfortable situation.
What causes Raynaud´s disease?
The disease is caused by the narrowing of the smaller arteries that supply blood to the skin in response to an extreme temperature change or the onset of stress.
For example, if your hands are exposed to a cold winter day and in a desperate attempt to warm up you jump into a hot shower or keep them close to a fire.
How can I prevent Raynaud´s disease from occurring?
Wait for the circulation to improve before jumping into a hot shower (until colour is back to normal and there is no numbness)
ALWAYS wear gloves when outside in winter. If cycling in minus conditions, wear surgeon gloves underneath your winter gloves
Don´t warm up too close to the heater or fire - rather cuddle up with a blanket
Enjoy warming foods in the winter months such as ginger, chilli, turmeric and cardomon. These help to relax the arteries and increase blood flow
Red light therapy in winter main be an effective treatment & prevention technique in the winter months when sun exposure is limited