The weather isn’t the only thing getting colder in the fall and winter – some people suffer from cold hands. This can be a normal response to cold temperatures, the automatically constrict blood vessels to save the loss of heat and focus the heat to central areas, But cold hands could also signify a deeper issue.
1. Poor Circulation
One common cause of cold hands is poor circulation. This can stem from underlying medical conditions or simply genetics. He explained that poor circulation can be concerning since it may be a sign of other diseases, including diabetes or obesity. In certain scenarios, the body will also decrease blood flow to the extremities, like your hands, to allow more blood flow to the important organs like your brain, heart, and lungs to maintain your body’s essential functions.
Cold hand surges are common when someone is experiencing a great deal of stress or anxiety. Stress and anxiety can manifest in physical ways throughout the body when they cause hormones like epinephrine or adrenaline to be released. It can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (your flight-or-fight response), which causes blood vessels to constrict in order to increase blood flow to the brain and vital organs. It is seen as a threat to your body, and your body constricting the blood vessels is a defence mechanism to ensure you’ll stay alive.
3. Smoking and Drinking
Smoking can also be a cause of cold hands, as it also constricts blood vessels. Constricting blood vessels decreases blood flow to the hands and fingers, which can cause them to feel cold. Drinking alcohol can also cause cold hands because it dilates blood vessels which slows circulation. An initial warm feeling from dilated blood vessels changes to cold as blood moves more slowly through the body and therefore doesn’t carry heat from muscles to other parts of the body.
4. High Cholesterol
Having high cholesterol can also affect blood flow. If you have a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries caused by your diet or genetics, it affects the lumen inside (think of the space within a hollow body part, like a blood vessel).
Eating an excess of foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can raise your cholesterol levels, which can lead to coronary heart disease.
5. Vitamin Deficiencies
Vitamin deficiencies can also cause cold hands. A vitamin B12 deficiency can give you neurological symptoms, including the feeling of cold hands and feet, numbness, or tingling. Anaemia, or low iron, can also be a culprit, so talking to your doctor about taking vitamin supplements such as B12 or iron to help improve this issue.
6. Raynaud’s Syndrome
Another common health condition called Raynaud’s syndrome causes cold hands. It’s a condition in which the blood vessels constrict too much, and the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. People will notice that their fingers turn white and then purple or blue, and eventually, the fingers turn red as blood flow is restored. Severe Raynaud’s can lead to tissue damage and breakdown if the fingers are not getting enough blood.
Ways to Prevent It
Maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood pressure, managing stress, eating a healthy diet, stopping cigarette and alcohol use, and protecting your hands when it’s cold outside are all good strategies to keep your hands warm. If anemia or B12 deficiency is the issue, talk to your doctor about adjusting your diet or taking supplements.
Ways to Relieve It
An obvious solution is to warm your hands up, either by putting on mittens, wrapping them in a blanket, or running them under warm water. If you experience cold hands because of poor circulation.
When to See Your Doctor About Cold Hands
No matter what the cause, you don’t have to live with cold hands. It’s best to talk to your doctor so they can help you determine the cause so you can live more comfortably in a world of warmth!
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