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Cold hands and feet. Peculiarity or a dangerous sign?

16 April 2020 | News | Therapy

Of course, there are people whose feet and hands are always cold, even if it is not cold around. What is it? Is it a peculiarity of the body or a symptom of a disease? 

There are many reasons, which bring to permanent cold feet or hands.

  1. This problem is more frequent in female as compared to male. It is obvious that the reason is poor thermoregulation related to permanent hormonal change, which is a result of female physiology.
  2.  People with tall, thin, asthenic built may also suffer from poor thermoregulation.
  3. Elderly people are constantly cold, which is associated with the processes slowing down in the body, as well as, thermoregulation.
  4. Children are also sensitive to temperature, especially before the age of one. Their thermoregulation is not yet stable, so they are easily frostbitten and overheated.
  5. Strict diet can also lead to cold feet and hands. The body takes energy from food, and if the calories are low in food, they are not enough to maintain the normal body temperature.
  6. One of the causes of cold extremities is the disturbance of blood supply due to stress, smoking, very tight clothes, compression bandage which results in spasm of blood vessels.
  7. In iron deficiency anemia is characterized by hemoglobin deficiency, oxygen starvation in tissues and reduced thermogenesis. As a result, the feet and hands get cold, the patient complains of fatigue, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, noises in the ears.
  8. In most cases the cause of cold limbs is vegetative-vascular dystonia. It is a complex of symptoms caused by the uncoordinated work of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Vegetative-vascular dystonia is also characterized by other unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness, sharp fluctuations in blood pressure, frequent heart palpitations, pain in the heart region (in case of the absence of cardiac pathology).
  9. Hypothyroidism i.e. shortage of thyroid hormones (thyroxine) slows down the processes in the body as well as thermoregulation. With low levels of thyroid hormones, other symptoms appear, for example fatigue, memory loss, weight gain, dry skin, brittleness of nails, constipation etc.
  10. Cold hands and feet, as well as sweating, fatigue and low body temperature may indicate arterial hypotension i.e. low blood pressure.
  11. Blocking endarteritis (a disease of smokers), a disorder of the permeability of blood in the vessels of the lower extremities, begins with cold feet, but can end up gangrene. Numbness in the soles of the feet, pain and tremors in the legs, ulcers and necrosis might occur.
  12. Blood supply disorder first in capillaries and further in large blood vessels might be associated with Diabetes Mellitus. It is common for the patients with diabetes to have cold hands and especially cold feet. The feet are more often affected. “Diabetic foot" might develop as a serious complication and threatens gangrene and paralysis of the foot.
  13. Cold hands is the symptom of Raynaud's syndrome which is quite rare disease. It is manifested by numbness of the fingers, spasm and loss of senses.
  14. Heart failure and poor blood supply are also common causes of cold extremities.
  15. Dystrophic disorders of the spine called osteochondrosis can bring to disorders of the blood supply and correspondingly cause cold feet and hands.

Physiological causes (hormonal disorders in female, slowing down of metabolic processes in adults, built peculiarities), poor thermoregulation or a significant pathology may result in cold hands and feet. If persistent cold in extremities is the only symptom, but the blood pressure is normal and a strict diet is not kept, blood hemoglobin, glucose and thyroid hormone tests might be needed.

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