Living with Raynaud's phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the fingers, thought to be due to spasm of the blood vessels. The blood vessel spasms are triggered by the cold, stress, or emotional upset. Most that suffer with Raynaud's often report fingers that turn pale when cold, and then red, swollen and painful when the hands are warmed. Symptoms may last for a few minutes, to a few hours and can also include pain, numbness, pins and needles and difficulty moving the affected area.

Raynaud's can exist as a primary cause, where there are no co-existing conditions, or secondary which can exist as a symptom of other illness. Primary is the most common, where there is an absence of other disease, and unfortunately there is no cure but the use of management strategies are advised. These include:-

# where warm clothes during cold weather, especially on the hands and feet

# exercise regularly to promote blood flow to your hands and feet

# if you smoke, consider ways of stopping

# eat a balanced and healthy diet

# incorporate breathing exercises or yoga into your daily routine

# avoid the use of vibration tools for long periods

If Raynaud's is part of a condition you suffer with, then it is worth speaking to your GP about managing the underlying cause.