Raynaud’s phenomenon is caused by poor blood circulation and primarily affects the hands and feet, although the face can also be affected. Extreme temperature changes can turn fingers and toes blue or white and make it painful and difficult to move and manipulate.
As Gary Nunn explains in an article for My Body, My Soul, the condition affects almost two million Australians, many of whom have not been officially diagnosed, as many are too embarrassed to admit anything is wrong.
Raynaud’s is much more common in people with connective tissue diseases. It’s estimated that around 80 percent of people living with scleroderma also have Raynaud’s compared to the general population at just 3 percent to 5 percent (Source: sclero.org). The condition also tends to affect women much more than men.
In some cases, the Raynaud’s is so severe that fingers or toes can become gangrenous and need amputation. For most, the disease is manageable though extremely uncomfortable, particularly during the winter, although the summer months can also present some problems.
Those with Raynaud’s often find it near impossible to get their hands and feet warm and often need to resort to wearing gloves and thick socks long before anyone else. They often need to take medication to counter the aches and pains caused by the condition. Living in colder climates presents many problems for those who suffer from the condition and it often has a dramatic effect on the person’s social life.
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