Louise Minchin health: BBC presenter reveals rare health condition live on air2020-03-14
Louise Minchin is a warm and friendly presence many people will associate with their weekday mornings. The journalist co-host’s the BBC One Breakfast show alongside Dan Walker three days a week. Regular viewers will be familiar with the show’s format, which covers a mixture of news, sport, weather, business, and feature items.
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Tuning in one morning last year, however, audiences were treated to an unexpected departure from the usual proceedings.
Louise took a moment to open up about Raynaud’s disease, a rare condition she lives with.
Using her platform to raise awareness about the condition, Minchin said: “I am one of the ten million.
“This is one of the first times I have been able to talk about it on national television.”
What is Raynaud’s disease?
According to UK-based charity Scleroderma & Raynaud’s UK (SRUK), Raynaud’s disease (Ray-nose) is a condition whereby the small blood vessels in the extremities such as the hands, feet, fingers or toes are over-sensitive to even the slightest changes in temperature, cold conditions and sometimes stress.
Speaking on the daytime show, Louise revealed the symptoms that can arise from having this condition.
She said: “Lots of people’s hands go completely white and numb. I don’t find it very painful. Lots of people find it extremely painful.”
According to the NHS, people may also experience pins and needles, and difficulty moving the affected area.
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While these symptoms generally affect the fingers and toes, all extremities can be involved, including the hands, feet, ears, nose, lips, tongue and nipples.
The symptoms of Raynaud’s may last from a few minutes to a few hours, notes the NHS.
As SRUK explains, this can make everyday tasks, like buttoning a jacket or unzipping a purse, very difficult.
There are a number of steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms, however.
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Keeping warm, for example, has been known to help people with Raynaud’s manage their condition.
Teasing his co-host, Dan Walker attested to this advice: “You are always turning the temperature up in here aren’t you. It’s like Dubai this morning.”
The NHS also recommends trying the following self-help tips:
- Wear warm clothes during cold weather – especially on your hands and feet
- Exercise regularly – this helps improve circulation
- Try breathing exercises or yoga to help you relax
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
The health body also says to avoid:
Smoking – improve your circulation by stopping smoking
Drink too much tea, coffee or cola – caffeine and other stimulants can stop you relaxing
If your symptoms are very bad or getting worse, a GP may prescribe a medicine called nifedipine to help improve your circulation, says the health site.
“Some people need to take nifedipine every day. Others only use it to prevent Raynaud’s – for example, during cold weather,” explained the health body.
It added: “Sometimes a GP will examine you and suggest a blood test.”
Can the condition signal a more serious underlying condition?
According to the NHS, in rare cases, Raynaud’s could be a sign of a more serious condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
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