Q: In this chilly weather my fingers feel very painful and sometimes go
white at the tips. My friend says it could be Raynaud’s disease – what is
this and can it be treated? Brenda, 37
A: Huge numbers of people, especially women, are affected by an
abnormal sensitivity to moderately cold weather. Your friend is right – this
is a condition known as Raynaud’s disease, where there’s a hyper-sensitive
reaction to the cold weather in the blood vessels in your fingers, causing
them to contract and cut off blood flow around your body. When this happens,
the body’s peripheries, like fingers and toes, turn white, then even blue.
When your fingers and toes warm up again, an abnormal dilatation of the
blood vessels leads to red, painful fingers and toes.
The good news is that it can be prevented by wearing specialist gloves and
mittens that are made with specific materials to keep your hands warm. And
your GP could prescribe a medication such as nifedipine, which can make a
huge difference by keeping the blood vessels open. Contact the Raynaud’s &
Scleroderma Association (Raynauds.org.uk; 0800 917 2494) for further
information and details about special socks and gloves.
Q: I’ve been having strange turns where I feel faint and my heart beats
really quickly. I think I could be anaemic. What should I do? Alexandra,
A: The feeling you get when your heart beats irregularly or very
quickly is called a palpitation, and most are harmless and temporary. But
because you feel faint alongside this, you should see your doctor for a
check-up. Anaemia is a condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells
or haemoglobin in your blood, meaning the blood is thinner and less
oxygen-rich than it should be, so your heart has to work harder and faster
to compensate. Anaemia can easily be treated with extra iron – eat lots of
green, leafy veg to boost your levels. You should also cut out stimulants
that can cause palpitations such as tea, coffee, cola and chocolate.
3 ways to love your liver
1: Get walking Exercise increases the production of healthy liver
enzymes. An hour of moderate exercise, such as walking, triggers optimum
2: Try acupuncture In Chinese medicine it’s believed that anger impacts
on the liver. Calm yourself down by applying pressure to the hollow between
your big and second toes.
3: Have a ‘mocktail’ Even if you drink in moderation, you need a couple
of alcohol-free days a week – so swap cosmos for virgin Marys! Each drink
you have damages your liver a little bit, so it takes less alcohol the next
day to cause the same amount of damage.
Aspirin or A&E?
Symptom: Severe period pain
You think it’s: Endometriosis
Don’t panic: Painful periods don’t necessarily point to
endometriosis, which is a condition where small pieces of your womb lining
are found outside the womb and can form cysts. It’s not unusual to
experience periods that are more painful than usual, but this may simply be
due to hormone fluctuations or stress.
Head to A&E: See your GP if you’re suffering from discharge, a
fever and back or abdominal pain. Head to A&E if you’re bleeding
heavily, having trouble walking or if there’s a chance you’re pregnant.
Compiled by: gemma askham Photography: scope beauty do not take aspirin if you
are under 16