With Raynaud’s Awareness Month occurring in February, Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK launch #raiseyourhands simple test to help millions affected by Raynaud’s. The test will be live on 1 February (www.sruk.co.uk/testme). 

This winter the UK is set to have the heaviest snowfall for many years, bringing misery and suffering for millions of people with Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. Many of us take it for granted that chilly hands will disappear once spring arrives, but that’s not the case for many people with Raynaud’s.

A trip down the frozen aisle of the supermarket or simply sitting in an air conditioned office anytime of the year, can trigger a painful attack for up to one in six people in the UK, living with a little known condition called Raynaud’s.

Raynaud’s is a condition that affects the blood supply in the body’s extremities – usually the fingers and toes – and many people living with the condition will regularly experience colour changes to the affected area, pain and discomfort.

Up to 10 million people in the UK are affected by Raynaud’s yet many living with the condition are not aware they have Raynaud’s or that support and treatmenti is available and left to deal with the impact alone Research from Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK), the only UK charity dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by Scleroderma and Raynaud’s, reveals that only 4% are able to identify the symptoms of Raynaud’s. SRUK is tackling this lack of understanding by getting everyone affected to unite and #raise your hands during February.

SRUK has launched a simple online test, accessible via their website to help identify if you may have Raynaud’s. At the end of the test you will be told if you could have Raynaud’s and the next steps to take, which could include top tips on keeping warm or downloadable information to take to your GP.

For many with Raynaud’s it will be a mild inconvenience but for 1 in 10 people affected by Raynaud’s they will go on to develop an autoimmune condition like scleroderma (which can cause disability and can be life-threatening), Arthritis or lupus, which may need further treatment and close monitoring.

Top 5 signs of Raynaud’s

  1. Cold fingers and toes
  2. Colour changes in the skin in response to cold or stress
  3. Colour changes in the affected area to white, then blue and then red
  4. Numbness, tingling or pain in the fingers and toes
  5. Stinging or throbbing pain upon warming or stress relief

Other parts of the body can be affected by Raynaud’s including the ears, nose, lips, tongue and nipples. Symptoms can last for a few minutes to several hours.

Sue Farrington, Chief Executive of SRUK, says: 

“We are encouraging more people to seek medical help and advice if they regularly experience one or more of the main symptoms which include pain, numbness or tingling in the body’s extremities.

“We know that despite a quarter of people saying that they had experienced symptoms, only 10% on average have visited their GP. This needs to change – Raynaud’s can be a minor but uncomfortable inconvenience, but for those more seriously affected by Raynaud’s or Scleroderma, it’s crucial that they seek medical treatment and support as early as possible. We hope with our online test people can self-manage the condition better, seek treatment where necessary but above all know that they are not alone, we are here to support and assist people in coping with the painful and sometimes life-changing effects of the condition.”

SRUK currently supports over twenty five thousand people in the UK living with the conditions but this is just the tip of the icebergii.

For more information on Raynaud’s, the signs to look out for, how to manage symptoms go to www.sruk.co.uk and download a Raynaud’s information pack today. To get in touch with SRUK  contact info@sruk.co.uk or call 020 7000 1925.