Rotary Club of Reading

Scleroderma & Raynaud's

Raynaud's is a common complaint that involves the fingers turning white and becoming over-sensitive to cold then taking a long time to return to normal. The skin thickens, the fingers turn blue then red and sufferers experience much pain. The cause is unknown and no cure has yet been found but the effects of the condition can be mitigated with special clothing including gloves and hand warmers. Sometimes Raynaud's comes as a result of other conditions, which can be either physical or emotional.
Scleroderma is more serious but fortunately much rarer. It is a skin disease related to Raynaud's but it can spread to internal organs as the sufferer's auto-immune system overreacts and attacks the body's tissue, potentially leading to death. Again there is no cure but the condition can be managed.
Until recently there were separate charities for each condition but in 2016 they combined to better tackle these conditions. S&RUK performs several tasks: the charity mounts an annual conference for physicians, they hold family days and they run a telephone help-line for sufferers. But most of all they seek to raise public awareness of an unpleasant condition that few people know about and one which is desperately short of research funding.

Footnote: The UK is one of very few countries that are trying to improve palliative care and find cures for these diseases. For instance, some work is being done in Canada but none at all in USA.