An online test to help detect the devastating but little-known Raynaud’s Syndrome is being promoted by a Worcestershire politician, whose first wife suffered from the condition.
UKIP MEP James Carver is campaigning to increase the take-up of the test as part of a national #KnowRaynaud’s awareness campaign this February.
Raynaud’s is a condition that affects the blood supply in the body’s extremities – usually the fingers and toes - making some everyday activities almost impossible due to pain and numbness.
It can also be the first sign of rare autoimmune diseases, such as scleroderma or lupus, which one in 100 people with Raynaud’s may go on to develop.
Mr Carver lost his first wife Carmen, at the age of 42, to the effects of scleroderma nine years ago, after which he pledged to do all he could to help raise awareness of both it and Raynaud’s, from which she also suffered.
He said: “Early diagnosis of Raynaud’s is vital to enable people to manage the condition effectively.
“It also allows those with underlying conditions to be screened for autoimmune conditions regularly, assisting in early diagnosis and allowing prompt treatment, which will help them enormously.”
Raynaud’s affects up to 10 million people in the UK, yet research by the charity Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK) reveals that only four per cent of people can identify the symptoms.
The online test has been developed with the support of three consultant rheumatologists specialising in scleroderma and Raynaud’s, ensuring it follows the clinical diagnosis pathway, giving users a trusted result.
Mr Carver said: “Users of the test answer five simple yes or no questions and receive a result as to whether they may have Raynaud’s or not and it takes less than a minute to complete.”
SRUK chief executive Sue Farrington explained that further information is then provided to those who may have Raynaud’s, including self-management advice, and those identified as at risk of having an underlying condition are encouraged to see their GP.
Mr Carver added: “Raynaud’s causes hands and feet to become so cold they turn blue/purple and then red, go numb, tingly or cause pain.
“It can make simple tasks like fastening clothing, writing or preparing meals, extremely difficult. It can also affect other parts of the body such as the ears, nose and lips, with attacks lasting from a few minutes up to several hours.
“I urge anyone who thinks they have the symptoms to take the test today at www.sruk.co.uk/testme so they can access the support and advice they may need and to help them manage their condition.”