If you ever get white, freezing cold fingers and/or toes, you may have Reynaud's Disease. And anyone who struggles with this problem (up to 20% of adults globally!) will fully sympathise with you!
Reynaud's Disease can affect certain parts of the body, most commonly the fingers and toes. It is usually triggered by cold temperatures but anxiety or stress can cause an attack too. Symptoms can last anything from a few minutes to hours at a time and are caused when blood vessels spasm, meaning that blood can’t get to the affected parts. This is why fingers and toes to go white during a bout of Reynauds. Ouch!
Reynaud's Disease can be primary which when the condition develops for no particular reason, or secondary. Secondary Reynaud's occurs because of an existing health condition, usually an autoimmune issue such as Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, where the body’s immune system attacks otherwise healthy tissues. Interestingly, 1 in 10 people who suffer from Reynaud's will go on to develop a secondary condition which is associated with Reynauds.
Ok, that’s all fine and good but… how can you help yourself when you’re struggling with an attack? Read on.
Firstly, if you smoke, stopping is a great idea! Anything you can do to support your circulation is wise.
Next, core temperature is key! Keeping your body warm is really important so focus on that. Wear lots of layers when you’re out and about and make sure you’re cosy before you step into the cold. And of course, make sure you have some gloves and properly warm socks and footwear on.
Move! Exercise gets the blood moving and can help to combat stress. Aim for 150 minutes each week.
Destress. Relax. Chill (not literally). Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself calm whether that be yoga, journalling, breathing techniques, tapping, reading a book or listening to music. If you are really struggling, consider counselling.
If none of the more conservative methods above are helping, contact your GP who may discuss medication with you.
We also recommend “wool nests” for your toes. You can buy animal wool from the chemist and use this to make a neat little nest around your toes to keep them well insulated and cosy. Wool or natural fibre socks are best and make sure your shoes are big enough! You don’t want your toes squished up against the toe box which will channel heat away from your toes. Eek!
Do you suffer from Reynaud's? Do you have any top tips to help your fellow suffers? We’d love to hear from you.