Why Do I Always Have Cold Hands And Feet?

Why Do I Always Have Cold Hands And Feet?

Cold hand and feet are habitually referred to as cold hypersensitivity. It is common for the people who come from extreme colder climate. It is a condition, not a serious disease; however, if suitable preventive measure is not taken it may worsen the quality of everyday life. In short, it is defined as a sensation of noxious cold in a patient’s extremities even at a room temperature. The best treatment for this condition is to avoid extreme cold environment. Most medical cases exhibit complications in blood circulation. Small blood vessels in hands and feet are most affected part of the human body because of cold hypersensitivity.

Why Do I Always Have Cold Hands And Feet?

Causes and Disease Associated With Cold Hands and Feet

The exact cause of mechanism in unknown but poor circulation in small blood vessels may be the outcome of several medical factors. Smoking, neurovascular disease, anemia, Buerger’s disease, peripheral artery disease, primary Raynaud’s disease, secondary Raynaud’s disease, lupus, scleroderma, Diabetes, and Thyroid disease are some of the medical factor responsible for cold hypersensitivity. Studies have shown the strong association between cold hands and feet and diseases such as functional dyspepsia, anorexia, orthostatic hypotension, and dysmenorrhea. Symptoms such as pain, shoulder stiffness, and tiredness have been reported due to cold hypersensitivity.

Cold hands and feet if persist for a prolonged period of time and any color changes in the skin or tissue damage, immediate medical care is required. In advanced cases, loss of feeling, foot ulcer, and infections like bacterial gangrene may develop. In such cases, removal of damaged skin or amputation is necessary to put back the normal blood flow. In several arterial diseases, due to hypercholesterolemia, it may lead to accumulation of plaques in hand and legs resulting in narrowing of blood vessels.

Patients with cold hands and feet show multiple clinical manifestations including major symptoms of primary Raynaud’s and secondary Raynaud’s. Raynaud’s syndromes about 48.4% were the most prevalent underlying disease for cold hypersensitivity followed by hypothyroidism (38.7%). The symptoms of primary Raynaud’s include spasm alone which can easily curable. Secondary Raudaud’s often manifest with the life-threatening autoimmune disease and mixed connective tissue disorder, which are difficult to treat as there are no specific drugs. Lupus, sclerosis, arthritis and Sjögren’s syndrome are some of the serious illness associated with secondary Raudaud’s where there is no cure, although relief of symptoms is often achieved.

Carpal tunnel syndrome also causes cold, pain, and numbness in the nerves of the wrist. The continuous pressure in the wrist leads to improper blood circulation in hands. A similar disease condition very recently described by Swiss ophthalmologist Josef Flammer. Flammer syndrome previous known as vascular dysregulation is a dysregulation of blood supply, which results in cold hands and feet and frequently associated with low blood. This syndrome associated with development of normal tension glaucoma diseases.

Certain drugs like high blood pressure medicines, beta blockers, birth pills, chronic smoking and certain occupation like drilling and typing can cause cold hands and feet. Certain genetic factor, physical constitution, irregular lifestyle, emotional stress, depression and anxiety, lack of physical activity were considered as major causes. In rare cases, insomnia, ephidrosis in hands and feet (sweating) were identified. In order to alleviate the symptoms, drugs support in dilation of blood vessels and an increase of blood circulation are advantageous. Calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, and vasodilators may help to improve the quality of life.

It is common in Asian women and several remedies are available in eastern medicine. In several cold countries like Japan and Korea, herbal like Korean red ginseng, moxibustion, and acupuncture technique have been used widely to reduce the symptoms in the extremities. Fish oil supplement helps to reduce the symptoms in patients with primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. Ingesting fish oil improves tolerance to cold exposure and interrupts the expression of spasm. Warmer place, warm cloth, and air condition controlled environment measures may protect from cold hypersensitivity.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 15, 2021

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