Why Do Cold Fingers And Toes Happen All The Time?

Cold Hands And Feet

Cold Hands And Feet

Mai Delacruz

Mai Delacruz
Personal Fitness Trainer & Health Coach

Updated on 3/25/2023

Find out what could be causing your chilly extremities and when you should consult a medical professional.

This is a scene that we've seen before. You adjust the temperature on the thermostat as your companion lowers it. Some people struggle all the time with feeling chilly, particularly in their hands and feet, and this is especially true in colder climates.

If you feel as though the temperature in your extremities is consistently low, you might be wondering if you should consult a physician. Here is the information that you require.

When The Blood Vessels Become More Constricted?

According to vascular medicine specialist G. Jay Bishop, MD, a common complaint among patients is having cold hands and feet. “But in most cases, when something like this does place in young people who are otherwise healthy, there is no need to be concerned.”

Cold extremities can indeed be an indicator of other, more significant disorders, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD); rheumatologic illnesses, such as scleroderma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis; or an underactive thyroid.

Cold Hands And Feet

Cold Hands And Feet

The majority of the time, however, these symptoms are manifestations of Raynaud's phenomenon, a frequent and, for the most part, harmless illness in which the blood capillaries in the fingers and toes become abnormally constricted.

According to Dr. Bishop, "a natural, healthy response to cold is for blood vessels to contract. This is done in order to preserve your core temperature and protect essential organs." "However, in those with Raynaud's disease, the arteries in the fingers and toes rapidly contract, and the vessels slam shut when they are exposed to cold."

Raynaud's syndrome produces brief color changes in addition to the sensation of having cold extremities. It is possible for a finger that is affected to turn white (because of the closure of an artery), then it may turn blue or purple, and finally, when it rewarms, it may turn red (because the artery is now wide open and dilated).

According to Dr. Bishop, “these color changes can be rather disconcerting, but in persons with the primary or benign form of Raynaud's (that is, people who do not have any underlying disease), they are innocuous.”

What Aspects To Look Out For?

Cold Hands And Feet

Cold Hands And Feet

People who already have an underlying rheumatologic or vascular disorder are more likely to develop Raynaud's than healthy people who don't have either of those conditions. In this scenario, Raynaud's may be linked with microscopic pits or ulcerations in the fingers or toes, both of which are notoriously difficult to heal.

"Any patients who have Raynaud's and associated skin changes, including tightening or thickening of the skin, nail changes, or cracks and sores that don't heal, should get checked out," says Dr. Bishop. "Any patients who have Raynaud's and associated skin changes, including tightening or thickening of the skin, nail changes, or cracks and sores that don'

It is essential that you consult your physician if you have cold extremities and any of the following symptoms:

  • The process of the skin becoming thicker or tauter.
  • Painful cracks or ulcers on the fingertips or toes that take a long time to heal.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight changes.
  • Fever.
  • Joint discomfort.
  • Rashes.



How To Handle The Discomfort Of Feeling Cold

Remember that the sensation of having fingers or toes that are excessively cold can sometimes vary from person to person, even if your doctor has ruled out any potentially life-threatening conditions. The primary consideration is one's own level of ease.

"It just might be who you are, especially if there are no other symptoms," Dr. Bishop says about patients who complain of having cold feet or hands when they get into bed.

The following are some coping strategies that Dr. Bishop suggests you try:

  • To keep the soles of your feet warm, you should dress appropriately for the weather and wear wool socks or many layers of socks, as necessary.
  • Be sure to keep your hands warm as well; even doing something as easy as switching from gloves to mittens might be beneficial.
  • Take into consideration the temperature inside of you: Layering your clothing, especially with warm, lightweight layers, can assist you in maintaining a consistent temperature throughout your core (and which you can remove as needed).

Itchy fingers

Itchy fingers

  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine as much as possible because both of these substances are vasoconstrictors, which means they make the symptoms of a cold worse.

The Disease Of The Peripheral Arteries, Known As PAD, In Senior Citizens

PAD, which occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked as the plaque gradually forms inside the artery walls, can also be a cause of cold hands and feet, especially in elderly persons. PAD can be caused when arteries become narrowed or clogged when plaque gradually accumulates inside the artery walls.

PAD can affect persons age 50 or older who have a history of diabetes or smoking, and anyone age 70 or over should be tested for it on a regular basis.

These symptoms may be an indication of PAD:

Leg cramping

Leg cramping

  • Manicure and pedicure.
  • Foot or toe wounds that are excruciatingly painful.

Know Your Body

Watch out for new symptoms that stick around, as this is one of the best ways to protect your health, according to Dr. Bishop. When my friends or family members ask me for medical advice, I always tell them, "You know your body best since you are the one who lives in it.”

If you have a sharp pain only once for twenty seconds, and then it never returns, it's possible that you'll never figure out what caused it. But if you feel a shooting pain in your hands, feet, or any other part of your body for 20 seconds at a time—and if this pain occurs ten times a day for two weeks—then something is probably wrong.

"Don't be bashful; that's something you want to discuss with your doctor," Dr. Bishop advises patients not to be shy about discussing it with their physicians.