Why do we suffer from cold hands and feet?

“My hands and feet are constantly cold.

I’ve heard people say it’s from poor blood circulation, but that can’t be true, right?”.

This letter from the reader Alexandra Kostova (39 years old) from Sliven arrived at the editorial office of

Actually, this is not completely false. Your skin maintains a normal temperature thanks to the blood vessels that circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

When the mercury on the thermometer drops, sensory receptors in the skin signal the brain to constrict blood vessels.

This allows smaller amounts of blood to supply the skin to keep your body warm.

In some people, vasoconstriction, as this process is called, can be triggered by the slightest changes in the thermometer.

It can appear due to current or wind. It leads to poor dewing of the hands and feet and hence – to insufficient oxygen and nutrients.

A study shows that this type of reaction occurs more often in women, because in them it is due to the fluctuating levels of estrogen – the female sex hormone which plays a big role in temperature regulation.

It is known that before the monthly cycle, women are more likely to feel cold hands and feet. That is why women are generally more sensitive to the cold than men.

Cold limbs can be a side effect of taking some medications, but they are also a concomitant symptom of diseases of the stomach, intestines and heart.

Cold hands and feet also indicate a lack of magnesium in the human body, which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

More severe sensitivity to cold is a hallmark of Raynaud’s disease, in which the extremities – usually just the fingers and toes, but sometimes the nose and ears too – may turn white or blue and numb .

This is due to spasm of the blood vessels that supply blood to the extremities.

Depending on how severe your symptoms are, treatment can range from wearing extra gloves and socks, to taking prescription drugs that dilate blood vessels.

Cold hands and feet may be a symptom of other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, lupus or diabetes, low iron levels, or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Your doctor can do tests and prescribe the appropriate medications, nutritional supplements or dietary changes.

But if you only complain about cold hands, try to warm them up by staying well hydrated and increase your activity level by getting up from your desk at least once every hour.

In the elderly, cold hands and feet may be a consequence of atherosclerosis of the blood vessels. The phenomenon is also observed in those who are heavy smokers, as they suffer from Buerger’s disease – chronic impaired blood supply to the legs due to affected blood vessels.

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