Summer’s finally here, and whilst most of us enjoy the warmth, there is no respite from the cold for those with Raynaud’s disease. Simply grabbing a cold drink from the fridge, holding an ice lolly, or entering a shop with the air-con cranked up is enough to trigger an attack.
For a little known condition, Raynaud’s is extremely common, affecting 10 million people in the UK – making it as prevalent as hay fever. In a Raynaud’s attack, the blood supply to the extremities (usually the fingers and toes) is interrupted in response to changes in temperature and emotional stress – leaving hands and feet with numbness or tingling, and fingers or toes turning white, blue and then red. It can be very uncomfortable, painful, and make everyday tasks like writing or buttoning up a coat difficult. The most common symptoms are colour changes in the skin in response to cold, a numbness, tingling or pain, stinging or throbbing pain upon warming.
So what can you do if you suspect you may have Raynaud’s?
1. Spot the signs. Do your hands or feet often feel cold, more so than other people? In a Raynaud’s attack, the blood supply to the extremities (usually the fingers and toes) is interrupted in response to changes in temperature and emotional stress – leaving hands and feet with numbness or tingling, and fingers or toes turning white, blue and then red. The most common symptoms are colour changes in the skin in response to cold, a numbness, tingling or pain, stinging or throbbing pain upon warming
2. Know your triggers. Keep a diary of when you experience flare ups. Logging attacks can help you recognise the triggers, and therefore control and reduce the risk, e.g. do they always occur when you’re particularly stressed or in an air-conditioned shop?
3. Keep warm. Layer up in thin clothes, avoid touching cold items or spending time in areas where temperatures fluctuate as even a slight change in temperature can cause an attack. Supermarkets are renowned for their low temperatures so try ordering online and asking a partner or friend to put the chilled and frozen items away
4. Avoid stressful situations as stress and anxiety can bring on an attack. Try doing some relaxation techniques if stress is a trigger
5. Lead a healthy lifestyle. Exercising boosts circulation, and if you’re outside on a cold day, keeping active will improve the blood flow to your hands and feet. Eat well – certain foods like ginger, garlic and spicy food are thought to help so try including these ingredients in your meals. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol, and stop smoking – it damages blood circulation.
6. Try a herbal remedy such as PADMA CIRCOSAN® (£16.95 / allcures.com). A traditional herbal remedy product based on Tibetan medicine, these capsules have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and circulation-stimulating effects thanks to a combination of active ingredients, including flavonoids, tannins and essential oils.
PADMA CIRCOSAN® is available from all good independent health food stores and pharmacies, and online from allcures.com. RRP £16.95 per 60 caps. Always consult your GP before making any major lifestyle changes.
PADMA – Tibetan formulas manufactured in Switzerland
Unique herbal formulas based on the knowledge of Tibetan Medicine. Manufactured in Switzerland since 1969 according to international quality standards.