Raynaud's phenomenon can be a debilitating condition for those who live with it. There are two known types of Raynaud's – primary and secondary.
Primary Raynaud's, meaning the condition occurs by itself, is the most common form. This type is thought to cause disruptions in how the nervous system controls blood vessels but exactly what causes these disruptions is unclear. There is some evidence that primary Raynaud's may be an inherited condition, as cases have been known to run in families.
me, anything is a trigger! Sometimes there is no reason whatsoever and I just have to manage the episode."
temperature threshold is much lower than the average person. My husband can be boiling and I'll be freezing. I have to wear lots of layers and I have to be very mindful of exposing myself to the elements.
Tackling Raynaud's can be a daily struggle but there are plenty of nifty techniques to help minimise your suffering. We will not be discussing medicinal options here, but there are many treatments you can
find on our website if you experience severe symptoms.
The key to managing Raynaud's phenomenon is preventing an attack before it happens by planning ahead.
Avoiding cold environments, touching cold items or spending time in areas where temperatures fluctuate will reduce the number of episodes you experience.
Wear lots of thin layers and loose clothing in order to retain warmth. Invest in thermals, including shoe insoles, and fleece-lined gloves, socks and coats.
Karen said: “I use an app on my phone to control my heating at home, so that I can make sure my home is always warm before I arrive. I also have a heated steering wheel to prevent attacks in my car.
While many patients recommend gloves, Sarah strongly advises against them, saying: “Wear mittens instead of gloves. If your hands are cold and you put gloves on you isolate the fingers and they're not going to get warm. If you wear mittens, you've got more chance of warming up because your fingers are together."
For many patients with Raynaud's, digital ulcers can be the most debilitating symptom. Here are some ways to keep ulcers at bay:
gym really helps me. I go regularly and it warms me up in winter and elevates my mood too."
As Sarah Cox said:“With your health you have to prioritise what you need, not what you want. Just be sensible and put your health first."
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If you'd like to learn more about Raynaud's, then head to our recent article: Latest research into Raynaud's syndrome.