This woman's hands are so sensitive to cold her fingers 'exploded'
Alex Busby, a 51-year-old tailor, suffers from painful freezing extremities, and in cold temperatures, the blood vessels in her fingers have previously 'erupted.' Alex had always thought that her cold hand and feet were simply down to poor circulation, but in December 2018, when painful ulcers sprang up all over her fingers, before they 'exploded', Alex was finally diagnosed with Raynaud’s disease - a condition which causes blood vessels to shrink in the cold, which leads to extreme pain in vulnerable areas, as well as numbness, pins and needles, and loss of dexterity.
Two weeks after her damaged hands were bandaged up, Alex was left with no fingernails and clubbed fingers: meaning that they have changed shape and curve abnormally. Alex has been prescribed blood pressure medication to help her circulation and must take extreme precautions to ensure her fingers and toes are not exposed to the cold, which could trigger a flare-up.
Commenting on her rare condition in a recent interview, Alex stated: "Things got so bad that the blood vessels in my fingers just couldn’t cope and they erupted. The skin began to peel away and I had to be bandaged up. Now, little everyday things you wouldn’t ordinarily think about are made difficult. I’m learning to adapt and battle on, but in this age of beauty and social media pressure, I do worry what people will say ... My fingers became covered in ulcers and eventually just couldn’t cope. It was like a load of boils bursting. It was all a bit of a mess."
She added: "I have a hairdryer with me at work, which I blast on my fingers to warm them when they seize up. also take hand warmers with me everywhere and have bought some Army issue mittens, which I have on strings. Even through that, though, I can still be affected. I’ll know a flare-up is coming as my fingers feel sore, then they can change colour to red, white or blue. Sometimes the pain is so bad it wakes me up from my sleep."
"People don’t realise just how much they rely on their nails. It can be difficult at work, when I’m using fiddly needles. Texting is another thing that’s become difficult. My clubbed fingers make it really hard to type, so I ask people to call, but as we’re such a digital society now, they don’t always do so ... People seem to know what they can and can’t say with lots of conditions, but not this one. I do get lots of odd looks at my hands, now they are contorted with no nails."
Alex urges anyone who always seems to have cold hands and feet to be proactive and seek a diagnosis from a GP. For help and advice on Raynaud's disease, visit Scleroderma and Raynaud's UK for more information.