What is Raynaud's Disease? - Everything You Need to Know

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month. Did you know around 20% of the adult population worldwide have Raynaud’s Disease? 

We have used reputable sources to gather the information in this article. 




If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, might have Raynaud’s Disease or are experiencing similar symptoms, please contact your GP.

What is Raynaud’s Disease?

Pronounced ray-nodes, Raynaud’s Disease is when small blood vessels in the body are over-sensitive to temperature changes, cold weather and emotional stress. The small blood vessels prone to this sensitivity tend to be in the hands, feet, fingers and toes. Although it is normal for our blood vessels to narrow when it is cold, those who have Raynaud’s have a more extreme reaction than normal. One of the most obvious symptoms is a colour change to the impacted areas. Commonly, the skin will turn white, then blue, followed by red when circulation returns to the affected area; this is referred to as a Raynaud’s attack.

 Sufferers can find Raynaud’s Attacks uncomfortable and, sometimes, painful. Raynaud’s can make certain daily tasks a tad difficult, e.g. doing up buttons and zips. As mentioned, the most common areas to be effected by Raynaud’s are fingers and toes. However, it can affect other areas such as ears, nose, hands and feet. 

Key symptoms include…

Colour changes in impacted area, such as the hands and feet.

Coldness and numbness.

Tingling/pain; most commonly reported when circulation has returned.

The SRUK website have an online test you can take if you are concerned you may have Raynaud’s. However, it is always best to contact your GP regarding any health concerns.

It predicted that up to ten million people in the UK alone have Raynaud’s Disease; this is why awareness is crucial. 

Raynaud’s is classified into two types: primary and secondary.

Primary Raynaud’s: Primary is the less severe of the two types. It is more mild and there are a number of ways to manage the symptoms including: 

• Avoid trauma to the fingertips.

• Avoid vibrating tools.

• Try to manage emotional stress.

• Avoidance of certain medications. 

• Stay warm wherever possible. This can be achieved via warm clothing, multiple thin layers of clothing, use of hand and feet warmers, using gloves and thick socks, thermal insoles and blankets. 

• Practice controlled breathing to manage stress.

• Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

• Consult your doctor for medicinal treatments.

• Maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

• Give up smoking.

• Exercise and maintain fitness; gentle exercise goes a long way and helps to improve circulation.

• Ensure you keep your employer informed if you are struggling at work with your symptoms. 

• Further details can be found on the SRUK website

Secondary Raynaud’s: Secondary is more serious than primary. Secondary Raynaud’s refers to Raynaud’s that it caused by a different medical condition. The most common conditions that can cause Raynaud’s are autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus. Secondary Raynaud’s typically requires a greater deal of medical investigation and support, alongside frequent monitoring to avoid and treat complications, such as ulcers. 

On the NHS website, you can find a summary of Raynaud’s Disease alongside pictures of the side effects of the disease. The most important thing is to consult a GP or medical professional if you suspect you may have Raynaud’s or have any concerns. Moreover, supporting someone you know with Raynaud’s Disease requires an understanding and awareness of what Raynaud’s Disease is and the impact it can have. Education and awareness is the first step to achieving this. 

Why not read our blog ‘What Young Adults Need to Know About High Blood Pressure’ next to continue enhancing your knowledge of health and wellbeing?

Comments are closed