Raynauds Awareness Month

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month.

The Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Association (RSA) ‘Love your Gloves’ campaign aims to highlight the problems associated with Raynaud’s.

Raynaud’s can affect anyone of any age, it is estimated to affect over 10 million people in the UK (that’s 1 in 6 of us!).

During February 2016 the campaign will have been sent to many GP’s, local hospitals and over 1,500 podiatrists & chiropodist clinics. The RSA will be sharing stories via their Facebook and Twitter pages (@Raynaudsuk) to encourage people to share their own experiences and show support for those who have Raynaud’s.

If you would like to get involved and help highlight this campaign you could tweet #loveyourgloves, organise a fundraising event or donate. More ideas and information can be found online or you can contact the RSA on 01270 872776 or info@raynauds.org.uk.

Raynaud’s phenomenon
This is a condition that affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body. It is more common for it to be found in the fingers and toes and is usually triggered by cold temperatures, as well as anxiety or stress. The condition occurs because the blood vessels go into a spasm blocking the blood flow. There are two types of Raynaud’s; Primary Raynaud’s is the most common type and is when the condition develops by itself. Secondary Raynaud’s is when it’s caused by another health condition. It’s sometimes referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome, Raynaud’s disease or just Raynaud’s.

Signs and symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon
If you have this then you will notice that the affected area can change colour to white, then blue and then red. This is due to the blood flow stopping and then returning. You may also experience numbness and pain with this, as well as the sensation of pins and needles. These Symptoms can last from a few minutes to several hours and other parts of the body that can be affected include; the ears, nose, nipples and lips. Due to the symptoms it can be difficult to use your fingers, however it is possible to go long periods without any symptoms and sometimes the condition goes away completely. Secondary Raynaud’s can severely restrict the blood supply, and course complications such as ulcers or scarring and in worse cases even tissue death. However severe complications are rare.

Who is affected?
Raynaud’s is a common condition and it affects 20% of the adult population worldwide and it is estimated that there is about 10 million people with the condition in the UK. Raynaud’s is slightly more common in women than men. Primary Raynaud’s usually begins around the age of 20, and secondary Raynaud’s can develop at any age, depending on the cause.

How Raynaud’s phenomenon is treated
It may be possible to control the symptoms of Raynaud’s yourself. To do this it is advised that you avoid the cold and wear gloves when possible. If it is caused by stress then using relaxation techniques when feeling stressed could help. Stopping smoking can also improve symptoms; this is because smoking can affect your circulation.

Raynaud’s phenomenon and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy
When we apply PEMF’s to our body we help it by coursing dilation to the blood vessels making them bigger, allowing an easier and better blood supply to pass around the body. It helps with the reduction of edema, which fills the tissue with fluid and restricts circulation. It is also possible to treat platelet adhesiveness, a tiny colourless disc-shaped particle found in large quantities in the blood. This is what is used in the clotting process. However it can cause a restriction in the blood flow if there is too much. Some evidence shows that most PEMFs will also change the pliability of red blood cells, allowing them to move through capillaries more easily and a reduction of inflammation. As Raynaud’s phenomenon is a problem that is related to circulation PEMFs could help with this in many ways.

Studies with PEMF
In one Russian study, PEMFs were found to be at least as effective as aspirin, through a slightly different mechanism in reducing platelet adhesiveness. PEMFs were actually better than aspirin in the fact that they affected so many different components involved in increased platelet adhesion. The same applies to other anticoagulants and other platelet adhesion treatments, often used to prevent strokes or heart attacks and PEMF is drug free.

 

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References

Blood Viscosity


http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Raynauds-phenomenon/Pages/Introduction.aspx

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