If you suffer from systemic sclerosis (scleroderma), lupus, ehlers-danlos, or other auto-immune diseases, it is most likely that you experience Raynaud’s Phenomenon as a secondary condition to your primary disease.
I had Raynaud’s for a couple of years, before I got my diagnosis – systemic sclerosis, also called scleroderma.
What is Raynaud’s Phenomenon?
It is a medical condition that causes pain in the extremities in response to cold temperatures. You can say that your body is highly sensitive to air condition, wind, cold areas, etc, and this causes the vessels to shut down the blood supply to your fingers, toes, sometimes nose, ears, tongue, in order to protect your organs from extreme cold. You might be in Denmark in springtime, but your body thinks you are at the northern pole and wants to protect you. How nice, dear body, but I am not at the northern pole – I am in Denmark.
So your fingers turn white during a Raynaud’s attack because of the spasm in your small arteries. The blood is no longer coming to your fingertips, and you feel numb. Often also pain. When the body finds out you are not at the northern pole anymore, but home where you have been all the time, the arteries open up again…BIG TIME. Your fingers turn red and sometimes even blue.
In this picture I was in Spain in September – the weather was beautiful with round 30 degrees. Hot and lovely….until I went for a swim in the pool. The temperature was 25 and way to cold for me!
How to prevent Raynaud’s attack?
- Dress in layers – try to keep warm at all times.
- Drink warm – tea is best, as coffee can affect the small vessels. But I need my morning coffee.
- Electric heated blanket, gloves, insoles. Handwarmers are great too.
- Avoid air condition.
- Use gloves when collecting items in your freezer or at the grocery store.
- Avoid stress.
- You might need medication – talk to your doctor about possibilities. It is most important that you do whatever you can to prevent ulcers. Those are very painful and takes such a long time to heal up.
Overall – be creative to stay warm.
Just dont set yourself on fire.
More information on Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Also – if you are located in Europe and have scleroderma, you can find a patient association in your own country via this link.