You wear socks as well as gloves or mittens to prevent cold hands and feet. You may even make some coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate just to hold in your hands to keep them warm.
Have you ever wondered why you have cold hands and feet?
If you occasionally do, there is no cause for alarm.
Your hands and feet contain very small blood vessels that transport blood and oxygen to the extremities of the body, as well as provide nutrients for the skin and help regulate the body's temperature.
Sensory receptors just below the skin are sensitive to external temperature. These receptors communicates information to the brain when ever there is a change in temperature.
When it is cold outside, the brain will respond by signaling the blood vessels to constrict. This helps preserve heat around our internal organs, which are essential for our survival.
This constriction of blood vessels help to minimize the body's heat loss, hence the cold hands and feet sensation.
Under normal conditions when the external temperature is warmer, once again the whole body will become warm, including the hands and feet.
However, if you persistently have cold hands and feet along with changes in skin color you may have an underlying health issue.
Let's examine some of the reasons why your hands and feet are always cold. And what you can do to help warm them up.
Causes of Cold Hands and Feet
Anemia or iron deficiency often causes extreme pale skin, fatigue, weakness and cold hands and feet.
Causes of low iron include poor diet, blood loss, inability to absorb iron, and pregnancy.
Some medications can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb iron.
Cold hands and feet could be due to a low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition that slows down your metabolism. As a result low thyroid can cause cold hands and feet, and including weight gain, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, depression, hair loss, memory problems, and immune system problems.
Low progesterone can cause cold hands and feet. Progesterone helps to thin blood making it easier to travel through constricted vessels. Hormone imbalances, in this case progesterone, induced by environmental poisons are often at the root of the problem.
Estrogen dominance (estrogen being a female hormone) estrogen has a stronger effect than the counterbalancing female hormone called progesterone, which can result in cold hands and feet.
According to Christiane Northrup, M.D. an expert in woman health, says a woman needs to get enough fiber in her diet as estrogen is excreted by the bowel. And if the stool remains in the bowel longer than it should, estrogen is reabsorbed.
Low Adrenal function - Adrenal Insufficiency - also known as Adrenal Fatigue can be the cause of cold hands and feet. Adrenal Fatigue can be caused by on going stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep.
Raynaud’s syndrome a disorder of blood circulation, causes cold hands and feet and sometimes affects the ears and tips of the nose as well. The sudden constriction of blood vessels causes decreased blood flow to the extremities.
Raynaud’s syndrome can occur on its own or it can acquire by other medical conditions and certain medications.
Cold feet could be due to Peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms include one or more of the following, numbness in the feet, tingling or a burning sensation in the extremities (legs and feet).
Peripheral neuropathy is a sign of underlying nerve damage, caused by infections, vitamin deficiencies, and diabetes.
Some of the early signs of peripheral neuropathy can include:
- Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in your feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lack of coordination and falling
- Muscle weakness or paralysis if motor nerves are affected
Having these symptoms and ignoring them only allows for more nerve damage to occur. If you suspect this may be the issue, see your medical care provider as soon as possible.
Your doctor may perform several tests, including nerve conduction studies (NCS) to evaluate how messages are being transmitted from the brain to the peripheral nerves.
In the event of peripheral vascular disease, the arteries narrow with a marked reduction of blood flow, notably to the fingers and toes.
Rx Medications Can Cause Cold Hands and Feet
Atenolol and Metoprolol also sold as Toprol and Lopressor Atenolol are beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, or to prevent a heart attack. It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, and in the process can cause cold hands and feet among other side effects.
Digitek (digoxin) is used to treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms. It can cause slow heart rate and low blood pressure leading to cold hands and feet among other side effects.
This is usually an indirect cause, but often plays a role. Certain toxic metals such as mercury and excessive copper affect the thyroid gland, for example, and can cause cold hands and feet.
If you have fillings in your teeth that contain mercury you might consider having them removed.
Over Growth of Candida
Candida is a necessary fungus in the body. It aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, the fungus can negatively affect the body with a vast number of health issues, including low body temperature along with cold hands and feet.
Faulty Immune System
Other diseases or syndromes that can be accompanied with cold hands and feet include the foloowing:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Autoimmune disorders
- Primary chronic polyarthritis
- Chronic candidiasis
There are a number of other causes why your hands and feet are always cold, such as:
- Poor circulation due to coronary heart disease
- Working with vibrating equipment (like a jack hammer)
- Smokers and other diseases that affect blood flow in the tiny blood vessels of the skin (Women smokers may be prone to this)
- Food and other allergies
- Chemical sensitivities
- Parasites (they can cause a mal-absorption syndrome which very commonly mimics anemia and conditions where the body feels cold all over including hands and feet)
Recommendations to Help Warm Your Cold Hands and Feet
Oil-soluble compounds of cayenne applied topically reach deeper tissues within 15 minutes, and generate warmth for hours.
Can also be taken in capsule form daily to help with blood circulation.
Ginkgo Biloba is documented for improving blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky. Better circulation of the blood flow can mean warmer hands and feet.
Ginger Root is a warming herb helpful in improving circulation (link here for: NOW Foods Ginger Root Extract 250 mg-90 Vegi Caps).
Korean Ginseng is also used for circulation and the nerves system.
Aerobic exercises or just any regular exercise program increases circulation of blood and nutrients, and also helps to flush the body of toxins.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts B-complex vitamins can help with the nerves system and circulation.