Raynauds

This is a horrible time of year for me.

I have a very big problem with cold weather. You see, I have Raynauds Phenomenon. Some medical websites refer to it as Raynauds disease which I strongly dislike. A disease is something that you catch like the common cold. I’ve had Raynauds for as long as I can remember. I don’t consider myself to be disabled or anything because of it. I just have to take extra care when it gets cold out.

So what is Raynauds?

It’s a circulation condition that affects the extremities. I get it in my fingers and toes. My toes usually aren’t too bad since I can wear thick socks and don’t normally have to take my shoes off while I’m out and about. The fingers are usually where its at it’s worst.

What happens is an exaggerated reaction to the change in temperature. When someone is badly exposed to the cold their body goes into shock and the blood supply will shut down in the hands and feet to go towards keeping the chest and organs warm. You can live without a toe, you need your heart. In a person with Raynauds this can happen by going outdoors when it’s snowing.

Image from nhs.uk

I’ll be honest, the guy in the picture has it a LOT worse than I do. But yes, my fingers do turn white and go numb when they get cold. I have had occasions where I’ve picked up a hot cup without realising just how hot it was and not been able to feel it. Not pleasant. Thankfully this only last a few minutes in my case.

However, after this comes the stage where my blood vessels effectively go ‘Oh $$%^@£, we made a mistake. Sorry!’ and try to make up for it by sending too much blood back to the fingers. This makes them turn purple and the only way I can describe the feeling is like slowly throbbing and burning from the inside out. This part hurts.

I don’t take any medication for it since there aren’t any that really exist. But it doesn’t really bother me that much. Remember, I’ve lived with this for 26 years and I’ve learned how to cope.

Gloves are teh awesomness! I usually end up spending a small fortune on new gloves every year. Also in times of emergencies carrying around a cup of coffee from one of the various coffee shops that are always around works wonders. The paper cups with the extra layer (like the Costa cups, or the brown sleeve that you get from Starbucks) work wonders as I can’t burn myself without noticing on those. I’ve heard other suggestions like carrying around re-usable heat pads, but I find those things annoying and I keep losing them.

So, warm gloves, plenty off coffee and staying indoors when the weather gets bad are all good things. So long as there’s no Annual hike up the mountains in the middle of winter in the pouring rain and snow I’ll be just fine 🙂

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