Student Voice: Living with Raynaud’s 

Hello everyone!  

My name’s Holly, the new EDI intern for this academic year. This is my first blog of the year, raising awareness of Raynaud’s disease/phenomena as February is Raynaud’s and Scleroderma awareness month! I had the opportunity to speak to Chloe, a fellow final year student here at the university. We discussed her personal experience with the phenomena, how this impacts her university life and what we can do to be more understanding and ease some of the struggles people may face.  

Raynaud’s Awareness Month Video
  • Raynaud’s disease can be a symptom of Lupus or Scleroderma. 
  • Lupus and Scleroderma are both autoimmune diseases. 
  • Lupus is when the immune system attacks healthy tissue. 
  • Scleroderma causes the overgrowth of tissue. 

What happens when you are having a Raynaud’s attack?  

My finger (or multiple) turns pale sometimes even blue or purple. This reaction also happens to my feet. I can feel a burning sensation when the blood starts to flow back to extremities, and this causes pain. This is because the blood flow is struggling to move the extremities when it is cold.  

How does this affect your daily activities/ university experience?

On the day-to-day basis, it is uncomfortable and on extremely chilly days picking up things become more challenging. Even walking on bad days can be difficult due to stiffness and pain. At university this can make typing and writing harder especially when sitting in cold, old rooms within Francis Close. Even when sat in lectures with my coat and layers on, it can be difficult for my body to raise its temperature.

What can other people do to be more understanding of Raynaud’s? How can we make things easier for you?  

Just understanding the disease, as it is a common thing to have, especially in women. It is important for people to understand that the phenomenon can happen even during hot summers. This is especially the case when going into air-conditioned buildings straight from the warmth of outside. One thing that really helps at university is ensuring the heating is on, especially in Francis Close as it is an old building that gets cold much faster than newer builds.

I hope this piece has given an insight into what living with Raynaud’s can be like, especially for students who may be struggling this winter. If you think you may have Raynaud’s, want to learn more about the phenomena and its affiliated conditions, or need some advice (including Scleroderma and lupus): please check out the useful resources below.