Around 1 in 6 people in the UK are thought to have Raynaud's. Find out more about symptoms, causes and how to manage the condition.
February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month
Can you imagine not being able to do up the buttons on your jacket? Or turn your key in the door, or unzip your bag? All because your fingers are numb, tingling or painful? Everyday tasks like this can be a challenge if you have Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Around 1 in 6 people in the UK are thought to have Raynaud's. However, research from Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK) shows that in Scotland, nearly 1 in 2 adults surveyed (49%) can't name any of the symptoms.
What is Raynaud’s?
A Raynaud's attack happens when the small blood vessels in the extremities (areas like the fingers and toes) become restricted. This may be triggered by the cold, temperature changes or stress.
There are two types of Raynaud’s called primary and secondary. Primary is the most common type.
Raynaud’s can also be referred to as Raynaud’s disease or Raynaud’s Phenomenon.
Who does Raynaud's affect?
Primary Raynaud’s is a relatively common condition, affecting up to 10 million people in the UK. 8 million of these are women.
Secondary Raynaud's is more severe and affects a small percentage of people - around 300,000 in the UK. It's likely to be caused by an underlying autoimmune condition like scleroderma.
People of any age can get Raynaud’s, but it typically starts in your 20s and 30s.
What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s?
A Raynaud's attack can be very uncomfortable. Symptoms include:
- cold fingers and toes
- coldness in other extremities
- colour changes in the affected areas, from white, to blue/purple and then red
stinging or throbbing pain when the area is warmed
Get to know the symptoms of Raynaud's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOpkD9dwrLs)
Watch this video from SRUK to find out more about Raynaud's symptoms.
Take SRUK's Raynaud's test online
You can take SRUK's simple online test to learn more about the symptoms of Raynaud's. You should also make an appointment with your GP for further advice.
Managing the symptoms of Raynaud’s
There’s currently no cure for Raynaud’s but a few simple lifestyle changes can help manage and reduce symptoms.
- keep your body warm, especially your hands and feet
- avoid sudden changes in temperature when you can
- dress in thin, loose layers for maximum warmth
- wear gloves and long, warm socks when it's cold
- try hand warmers and thermal insoles
- manage stress - practices like mindfulness can help
- get help to stop smoking as it can trigger symptoms
- eat a balanced and healthy diet
Non-urgent advice: Speak to your GP if:
- lifestyle changes don't improve your symptoms
- you notice a change in your symptoms
- you are worried about your symptoms
- you have any other health condition
Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK
For tips, support and further information visit the SRUK website.
SRUK is the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with Scleroderma and Raynaud's phenomenon.