What is Raynaud’s phenomenon? It is a common condition which affects blood supply to parts of the body, most commonly the fingers. It is often referred to as Raynaud’s syndrome, Raynaud’s disease or just Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s causes the affected areas to lose colour and turn white, then blue and eventually red as the blood flow returns. Many sufferers complain of the areas feeling cold and numb and some experience pain.
It is not a serious or life threatening condition, but is an awkward one to live with as it is difficult to use your fingers. Sufferers sometimes go long periods without an episode and most episodes occur in winter when it is cold. Anxiety and stress have also been known to trigger the condition.
Even though it most commonly affects the fingers Raynaud’s has been known to affect the ears, nose, nipples and lips. Sometimes just getting something out of the freezer can trigger an episode.
It is believed that up to 20% of the world’s population suffer with Raynaud’s. It is slightly more common in women than men and usually starts when you are in your 20’s – 30’s.
We all know that in cold temperatures your body reduces the amount of blood to your extremities, such as fingers, toes and ears to keep the body warmer. Well in people with Raynaud’s the body overreacts to the cold and restricts even further the blood flow to your extremities which in turn, makes them loose colour.
There are two forms of Raynaud’s, Primary and Secondary. Primary Raynaud’s is the most common type and is now believed that it is caused by disruptions of the nervous system which controls blood flow. It is still unknown what causes the disruption to the nervous system.
Secondary Raynaud’s is caused by an underlying health condition or by damage to the nervous system in the extremities. One of the causes of Secondary Raynaud’s is the condition Vibration White Finger.
Vibration White Finger (VWF) is a condition where Secondary Raynaud’s has been caused by vibration. This typically affects people who use vibrating tools such as hammer drills, chainsaws, grinders, hedge mowers etc. Basically any vibrating tools which results in numbness and tingling in your fingers can lead to VWF.
Under UK Health & Safety legislation employers have a duty of care to protect their workers from VWF. There are a number of ways they can do this:-
- Find an alternate way to do the job
- Tools are maintained properly and cutting tools are kept sharp
- Anti Vibration gloves are supplied
- Reduce the time you use the tool
- Keep you warm at work
If you are diagnosed with VWF you must inform your employer straight away who in turn by law must inform the Health and Safety Executive.
With February being Raynaud’s awareness month, Jordans are writing articles about Raynaud’s and VWF.
Many ex coal miners suffered with the condition and could have been eligible for an industrial disease compensation payment from the Government. This scheme has since closed but Jordans have a dedicated team going back and looking at those claims the miners made to see if they were awarded the correct amount and recovering money for those who weren’t.
If you were a miner and made a claim under the Government scheme then give the team at Jordans a call free on 03303 001103 or visit www.minerscompensationclaims.com to find out more. Act immediately as time could be running out.