I Have Cold Hands and Feet - What Does It Mean

I Have Cold Hands and Feet – What Does It Mean?

When it is cold outside, you can understand why you would have cold hands and or feet. It’s usually the body’s natural response to keep your core area- chest, warm. However, when your hands and feet feel cold in warm weather, it could mean you have an underlying health problem.

These health problems could include anemia, diabetes, frostbite, lupus, Raynaud’s Disease, Buerger’s Disease, problems with the nervous system and poor circulation.

There can be various causes of cold hands and feet, including a variety of cold injuries including immersion, pernio, Raynaud’s phenomenon, cryoglobulins, cold urticaria, frostbite, and frostnip.

Below are a few of the symptoms associated with cold hands and feet, including numbness and pain.

If your cold hands and feet are occasional, there is no need to be alarmed. But if the problem persists and is accompanied by some color changes, you should seek medical attention.

Below are some diseases that could trigger cold feet and hands

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What Having Cold Hands and Feet Could Mean    

Frostbite

This is not a disease per se but rather, a condition that generally develops when one is out in the cold for a long time, but frostbite can happen in just minutes when you are outside in the extreme cold and can also occur in temperatures that are above freezing if there is a strong wind. The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes are the extremities most commonly affected by frostbite.

Freezing can cause damage to your skin and tissues. If the condition is severe, the nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and muscles could even die. Usually, the skin tends to shrink and tear. As a result of damaged nerve endings, you could lose feeling in your extremities.

Anemia

This is a deficiency disease caused by lack of iron in the diet. Its symptoms include weakness, pale skin, fatigue, and cold feet and hands. In most occasions, anemia goes undetected until it evolves into Raynaud’s disease. If your hands and feet feel cold regardless of any warming measures you may take, you should first check the iron levels in your body.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a blood sugar condition that is accompanied by a host of symptoms including cold feet and hands. The cold hands are as a result of thyroid problems, high blood pressure, and circulatory issues.

Lupus

This is a rare cause, but a cause nonetheless. People suffering from Systemic Lupus have their blood vessels attacked. The smaller blood vessels in the skin of the feet and hands are mostly affected thus leading to poor blood flow in these areas. With poor blood circulation, you experience icy feet and hands.


Raynaud’s Disease

This is a condition characterized by excessive sensitivity in the hands and feet. This disease triggers arteries in the feet and toes to go into a vasospasm. In this state, the blood vessels narrow and blood supply to the feet and hands is limited. Over time, as the condition worsens, the arteries grow thicker and further restrict blood flow leading to a pale blue color to the toes and fingers.

A Raynaud’s Disease attack can be triggered by holding a cold item or pouring cold water on your hands and feet, emotional stress or exposure to cold weather. It is important to note that there isn’t an underlying health condition known to contribute to Raynaud’s Disease. It simply is a genetic disorder.

That said, secondary Raynaud’s is considered a serious disorder and results from underlying health problems. One such condition is scleroderma and Lupus.

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How you can treat cold hands and feet

If your cold feet and hands are symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease, there are medications that could help your situation. To encourage circulation and dilate the blood vessels, you could choose to use alpha blockers, vasodilators o calcium channel blockers.

If your cold hand and feet symptoms are chronic, you should take over the counter medications or birth control pills. These could worsen the situation.

If you are open to more invasive remedies and treatments, you can undergo a nerve surgery. In this type of surgery, the nerves around the blood vessels in your fingers and toes are cut via a small incision.

This surgery is referred to as sympathectomy. It results in a reduced frequency of cold feet and hand attacks. Be aware that this surgery does not always yield the expected results.

Some chemical injections designed to block the sympathetic nerves in the affected limbs can also go long way. These injections, however, need to be repeated every so often.

In worst case scenarios amputation to get rid of the damaged muscles and tissues may be necessary. But before you freak out, the condition rarely gets to this level.

If you are a smoker, you should quit. Smoking causes a dip in the skin temperature resulting in the constricting of blood vessels. Once you quit, exercise regularly to increase blood circulation and control the stress levels.

Last but not least, you should always keep your cold feet and hands warm. Avoid wearing tight watches, rings, and bracelets as this will impair blood flow to your toes and fingers.

If you can, take some oil supplements to improve your body’s tolerance to the cold.

If the situation seems to be getting out of hand, do not hesitate to consult with your doctor about the treatment options available for cold hands and cold feet.

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