Raynaud’s Awareness Month is observed in February in the United Kingdom to drive awareness about the condition, increase advocacy for people suffering from it, and promote the need for a cure. Did you know that Raynaud’s is named after Auguste Gabriel Maurice Raynaud, a French doctor who discovered it in the late 19th century? Raynaud’s is a condition that causes a shortage of blood flow to the extremities: the fingers, toes, nose, and ears. This condition is characterized by changes in color, from white and blue, to bright red as blood flows back to the affected area. Raynaud’s cause is still unknown, and no cure has been developed for it yet.
History of Raynaud's Awareness Month
The history of the scientific discovery of Raynaud’s can be traced to Auguste Gabriel Maurice Raynaud, the French doctor who discovered the Raynaud syndrome in the late 19th century. On August 10, 1834, Maurice Raynaud was born in Paris, France, to a university professor. With the support of his uncle, Ange-Gabriel-Maxime Vernois (1809 – 1877) — a well-known Parisien physician — he began his medical studies at the University of Paris. In the 1860s, Maurice Raynaud published his doctoral dissertation, “De l’asphyxie locale et de la gangrène symétrique des extrémités” (On Local Asphyxia and Symmetrical Gangrene of the Extremities). This dissertation made Raynaud one of the few people to earn eponymous fame, with Raynaud’s syndrome named after him. He achieved his medical doctorate in 1862.
In 1863, after the publication of his article “Asclepiades of Bithynia, doctor, and philosopher,” and the book “Medicine in Molière’s time,” Maurice Raynaud was awarded the ‘Doctorat ès Lettres’ (Doctor of Philosophy). Due to political opposition during his time, Maurice Raynaud was never promoted to a professor or offered the chair of medical history at the University of Paris, or given a senior position at any of the Paris hospitals. However, in 1865, he was awarded ‘Médecine des hôpitaux’ (received hospital privileges).
In 1866, Raynaud was awarded the ‘agrégé’ (an academic rank conferred by a French university), mainly because of his works, “Sur les hyperhémies non phlegmasiques” and “De la revulsion.” Between 1871 and 1879, he became an officer of the ‘Légion d’honneur’ and was elected to the Académie de Médecine. After years of battling a cardiac disease, Maurice Raynaud finally succumbed and died on June 29, 1881.
Raynaud's Awareness Month timeline
Maurice Raynaud is born to a university professor in Paris, France
Maurice Raynaud publishes his doctoral dissertation on Raynaud’s syndrome
Maurice Raynaud receives the officer of the Légion d’honneur award and becomes a member of the Académie de Médecine.
Maurice Raynaud dies after years of battling a cardiac disease.
Raynaud's Awareness Month FAQs
How many people have Raynaud’s in the U.K.?
According to Scleroderma & Raynaud’s U.K., up to 10 million in the United Kingdom have Raynaud’s.
Is Raynaud’s a pre-existing condition?
Raynaud’s is not usually a pre-existing condition. Primary Raynaud’s occurs due to an unknown illness, and secondary Raynaud’s is caused by a pre-existing condition, such as cold weather and stress.
What is the difference between Raynaud’s syndrome and Raynaud’s phenomenon?
Primary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s disease) is more common and less severe than secondary Raynaud’s, and its cause is still unknown. Secondary Raynaud’s (Raynaud’s phenomenon) is usually caused by an underlying condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome and connective tissue diseases.
How to Observe Raynaud's Awareness Month
Host a Raynaud’s awareness program
Organizing an awareness program is one of the best ways to observe Raynaud’s Awareness Month. You can host a coffee discussion in your workplace, community, or home, inviting a nurse or a specialist on Raynaud’s. You can also use Twitter Spaces, Instagram Live, and Facebook for the awareness program.
Share your knowledge of Raynaud’s on social media
How strong is your understanding of Raynaud’s? Use this Raynaud’s Awareness Month to share what you know about the condition and contribute to the fight against it. If you don’t know much, you can use this article as a starting point and do further research online to improve your knowledge of the syndrome.
If you can’t organize an awareness program or share your knowledge online, you can donate to Raynaud’s organizations. N.G.O.s like Scleroderma & Raynaud’s U.K. (S.R.U.K.) fund research into Raynaud’s treatment and cure development and support people with Raynaud’s. You can make donations to S.R.U.K. or similar organizations.
5 Interesting Facts About Raynaud’s
No one knows what causes it
Doctors and scientists don’t completely understand what causes Raynaud’s attacks.
It’s mostly common in females
Women between the ages of 15 and 30 are more likely to suffer Raynaud’s attacks than men.
Cold temperatures are a risk factor
People living in colder climates are more at risk of Raynaud’s than people in warmer climates.
It has no specific test
Raynaud's is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and medical history.
It’s rampant in the U.K.
About one in six people in the United Kingdom are affected by Raynaud’s.
Why Raynaud's Awareness Month is Important
Raynaud’s awareness increases detection rates
According to Scleroderma & Raynaud’s U.K., millions of U.K. adults have no knowledge of Raynaud’s. With this low level of awareness, many people can be living with Raynaud’s and related symptoms without knowing it.
Raynaud’s awareness reduces stigma
People with Raynaud’s are likely to be stigmatized. That may cause them to reduce their interaction with other people, leading to isolation. By sensitizing the public to the condition, you can decrease its stigma and prevent people from ostracizing those living with the illness.
Raynaud’s awareness helps people better manage the condition
Raynaud’s awareness can help people living with the condition manage the symptoms to live a fully-functional life. Awareness programs can also educate and advise patients’ families on how to provide support to them.
Raynaud's Awareness Month dates