Raynaud’s phenomenon is often misunderstood, or simply unheard of. The condition affects millions worldwide and causes the arteries in charge of circulation to narrow. This limits blood supply to certain areas of the body like the fingers and toes.
This February marks Raynaud’s Awareness Month in the UK. Heat Holders want to help spread the word and help support those living with the condition.
It can be relatively easy to ignore the signs of Raynaud's as it can be misinterpreted as simply being too cold. When the cold has taken a hold, there's signs to look out for.
- Skin colour changing in different temperatures
- Skin colour changes brought on by stress
- Numbness, tingling or dull pain in the affected area
- Stinging or throbbing pain when warming up or relieved of stress
If you notice any changes when your skin is exposed to colder climates or under stress, it's worth making an appointment with your doctor.
Raynaud's can often be painful, mostly during the winter months when symptoms are heightened by the sudden drop in temperature. There's a number of ways to help with pain management including both medical and lifestyle. Everyone has a preference and must find what works for them, but here’s some easy ways to keep warm and pain free.
Clothing like fleece-lined leggings can be worn under dresses and skirts so people can still dress how they like no matter the weather. Keeping extremities covered when outside is the best way to prevent any symptom flair ups.
Warm Your Environment
Keep your home and office warm. If you're sat still for long period of time, whether working or relaxing, try adding some heating pads to your warm clothing. You can also use warming devices at night to pre-heat your bed before sleep and layer your bed with a Heat Holders thermal blanket.
Since stress can trigger symptoms, learning effective management techniques can help keep you feeling calm. Some good examples would be practising mindfulness through guided meditation or following deep breathing exercises. This can be a great place to start with learning how to control stress levels.
You don't have to go crazy with the cardio. Regular walks can be enough to boost blood circulation and warm you up. There's also exercises you can do at home to target pain in your wrists, fingers and legs. Be sure to consult a doctor to avoid injury and follow advice before starting any type of physical activity.
Eating a balanced diet is even more important during the colder months as it helps your body store more energy. It’s a good idea to talk to a nutritionist or doctor to find out what vitamins and minerals you could be lacking from your diet.
Little changes to diet can make a big difference to someone's quality of life.
A friendship circle and close family can give you support and comfort in a time of need. Emotional support is important for everyone as it keeps you in a positive headspace. If that's not an option, you can look for local support groups in your area.
It’s easy to feel lonely, and even isolated when facing something that nobody you know can relate to. Support groups are full of others living with the same condition so they can bring that much needed sense of community and relief. These groups are a non-judgmental space where others can share experiences, tips, and advice on how to manage symptoms and live a full life with Raynaud's.
Looking to the Future
Although Raynaud’s affects millions across the world without a cure, there are ways to manage your symptoms and live life to the max through all seasons.
For anyone suffering with temperatures, browse our range of thermal socks, clothing and accessories - guaranteed to keep you warm this winter.
Written for Heat Holders by Holly Dodd.