Raynaud’s phenomenon is thought to affect up to 10 million people in the UK.
It is a painful condition whereby the blood vessels in the extremities spasm in response to cold weather. It results in the reduction of blood flow, usually to fingers and toes, and presents in colour changes to the affected areas. Initially the digits turn white, where blood flow is restricted, then blue, often accompanied by numbness and tingling, and finally red as the blood flow returns. As well as fingers and toes, it can affect other extremities such as ears, nose, nipples and lips.
The cause of the condition is still unknown but the attacks are often triggered by a change in temperature, emotional stimuli and stress.
It is important, particularly in these cold months, to keep well wrapped up. Gloves, hat, thick socks as well as loose fitting layers are a must to remain as warm as possible.
Because stress can trigger an attack, regular exercise and relaxation techniques, such as massage, reduce tension in the body, thereby improving circulation.
Ginger, pepper and chilli improve circulation as well as having warming effects. Swap English breakfast for ginger tea and add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to eggs, salads and vegetables for a circulation boost.
By Sarah Tomlin