Awareness week to highlight Raynaud's and scleroderma

In just under three weeks, Ireland will host its first Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Awareness Week. Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Ireland (RSI ) is organising a full programme of promotional, educational, and information activities to educate the nation on both conditions and inform the Irish population of the symptoms and treatments associated with each, as well as encouraging those suffering in silence to reach out to the resources available to them.

Raynaud’s is a condition that affects the blood flow, occurring usually during periods of cold or stress. The condition causes loss of blood supply to the extremities, usually fingers and toes, leading to a series of colour changes to the hands and feet. The affected areas generally turn white first, with loss of sensation and loss of dexterity, then blue as the oxygen is used up, and finally red as the blood supply returns.

For some people, Raynaud’s causes significant problems due to ulceration and gangrene and it is extremely painful. Raynaud’s is a common condition, affecting some 10 per cent of the population, with primary Raynaud’s being the most common form. Secondary Raynaud’s occurs in conjunction with a number of autoimmune conditions, notably scleroderma.

Scleroderma is a rare auto immune disease. Raynaud’s is often the first symptom of scleroderma. It is a serious connective tissue disease that affects the skin, and can also affect major organs. In the worst cases, it can be life threatening. Early diagnosis is important, enabling early treatment and leading to best management of the condition,

This month, Raynaud’s & Scleroderma Ireland aims to encourage all current and potential sufferers (or their families and friends ) to get in touch and use the support of the charity to their benefit. There is currently no cure for Raynaud’s or scleroderma.

RSI works to raise awareness of the symptoms of both conditions and to highlight the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling symptoms.

Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Awareness Week will take place from April 21 to 26.

If you are suffering with any symptoms that you think could be caused by Raynaud’s or scleroderma, or if someone in your family or friendship network is, visit www.irishraynauds.com for further information.

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