emma hobday 600

Raynaud’s Syndrome: Here’s how you can help sufferers

By Emma Hobday | 29 December 2021 | Feature, Health & wellbeing

emma web featured image 1200x800px 2021 12 20t161124.509

Raynaud’s Syndrome is named after French physician, Maurice Raynaud, who first recognised the condition in 1862. The phenomenon causes an interruption of blood flow to all extremities including the hands, fingers and toes, when a spasm occurs in the blood vessels of these areas.

Spasms triggered by exposure to cold temperatures or emotional stress typically cause these areas to turn white, then blue, then bright red during the course of an attack, as these areas are over-sensitive to even the slightest change in temperature. The symptoms can be coupled with swelling, tingling, numbness or painful stinging or throbbing and in severe cases, the areas many develop ulcers and manifest infections, which can lead to gangrene.

A Raynaud’s attack can be a very uncomfortable and possibly painful process. It can also make everyday tasks, like buttoning a jacket or unzipping a purse, very difficult. It can occur both as a manageable primary disease or secondary issue, where it’s related to another disease, usually autoimmune, such as scleroderma, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Raynaud’s Syndrome can occur at any age and be hereditary, in which case it tends to be mild.

It is quite rare in children but becomes more common in teenagers and occurs more frequently in women. It’s more common in cold climates and, since there’s little evidence to support the success of alternative medicine, it is advised to stop smoking, drinking and other stimulants and to avoid the cold wherever possible.

Sufferers are encouraged to purchase specialist heated gloves and socks as well as looking for creams and lotions that house ingredients such as magnesium (which dilates blood vessels and helps the body increase its nitric oxide) and l’arginine (an amino acid that works well as a vasodilator to help blood flow and circulate).

In addition, products with lanolin, botanicals, neem oil, coconut oil and vitamins A & E can help retain moisture. Creams created for use on diabetic sufferers will work well for those with Raynaud’s as the feet can get dangerously dry. Creams chosen should be oil-based ointments and emollients for long-term protection. Emollients should be used in the bath, nails should be trimmed and filed, aqueous creams used instead of soap and gloves must be worn for when washing up.

To find out more about Raynaud’s Syndrome, visit Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK, where an online test is available to help identify if a person has Raynaud’s.