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mirifique's avatar

Possible causes of inordinately cold hands and feet?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) April 4th, 2010

I’ve noticed that my hands and feet get unusually cold. I do believe I consume enough iron, but potentially not enough. They do not get so cold as to make me want to see a doctor about it, but I am concerned this is symptomatic of a larger disorder, so I am doing some preliminary online research. Any thoughts as to what may be causing this? I do ingest a good deal of coffee (1–2 cups/shots per day), but get enough sleep, exercise, and eat pretty healthy (low sugar/carbs, high protein, low saturated fats, low alcohol).

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26 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Sounds vascular. How’s your pulse at the wrist?

mollypop51797's avatar

Maybe a circulation issue? Do they get pale, or slightly purple?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Chronically cold extremities is a sign of poor circulation.

mirifique's avatar

@dpworkin Pulse is 60. @mollypop51797 No unusual coloration.

mirifique's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy How do I remedy this?

gailcalled's avatar

Raynaud’s Syndrome. Google it and also try swinging your arms around like windmills.

mirifique's avatar

I’m thinking it’s the coffee, which is a powerful vasoconstrictor (and why it’s good for migraines). Numerous articles online corroborate. Thoughts?

dpworkin's avatar

I didn’t mean the rate, I meant the intensity. Is it a lot easier to feel at the carotid?

Pandora's avatar

Possibly low blood pressure or inactivity. Crossing your legs as you sit can slow down your blood flow to your feet. Even weight can affect your blood flow.

deni's avatar

bad circulation. my feet are always frozen. i wear big socks and dont give it much thought. lol

snowberry's avatar

I’ve always been like that. I’ve been told it’s my adrenals (which also give a dip to my thyroid).

casheroo's avatar

I was going to say Raynaunds as well. My mother has it.

lilikoi's avatar

Bad circulation. You can remedy it by regularly exercising. Do you exercise regularly already or are you fairly sedentary? If the latter, I’d expect it to be poor circulation. If you already exercise regularly and still have cold extremities only then would I contemplate seeing a doctor for a potentially more serious issue.

anartist's avatar

poor circulation for some reason or another—\
when i was young someone grasped my unduly cold hand and said “Do you smoke?”
that’s one reason
Diabetes
Atherschlerosis
Cold weather
Thin, thin-skinned fragile extremities
Inactivity
End-of-life shutdown

mirifique's avatar

@lilikoi But I do regularly exercise. I’m still thinking it’s the coffee.

lilikoi's avatar

ok, I’m not sure then… sorry!

anartist's avatar

@mirifique possible effect coffee, caffeine sodas, cigarettes, cocaine
vasoconstricting stimulants

phillis's avatar

Do a CRT (capillary refill time) test on a nail bed on your hand and your foot. Press the nail bed pretty hard with your finger. If it takes more than one second to turn back pink after blanching, it’s circulatory in nature. Coffee (tea, sodas) have caffeine, which is a vasoconstrictor. Lay off the caffeine for 24 hours, then try the CRT test again.

If you have pitting edema or any extremity swelling in hands and/or feet, that should alarm you (sitting for long periods in a chair can cause swelling in the legs, even in normal people).

There are many reasons for cold hands and feet, so I can’t help you narrow them until I get more input. A few are innocuous, and many that require serious medical intervention (that cannot be substituted by a website, which I am sure you already know). I am fine with helping with a prelim direction, but will stop short of diagnosis.

ThrallKiller's avatar

Could be a circulation issue, or possibly hypothyroidism.

phillis's avatar

@ThrallKiller Hypothyroidism (and para) was on the top of my list, too, after non-threatening issues. Good call

Mirifique, if you decide to offer more insight, would you please let me know if you’re having vision problems, forgetfulness, energy level issues, knots under your skin, weight fluctuations, or anything else that isn’t normal for you? Thanks.

ThrallKiller's avatar

@phillis Thanks! My wife is hypothyroid, and she stays cold all the time, especially her hands and feet. And her butt, in the winter, when she wants to snuggle… :P

phillis's avatar

@ThrallKiller That’s normal for any woman who tries to snuggle with a thrall killa, baby! :)

susanc's avatar

“Cold hands, warm heart.” Maybe you should be meaner.

tranquilsea's avatar

I developed cold hands and feet and was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome. Through those years I was a yoga nut and there was no change in my hands or feet. I have just recently started running…3 times a week and I haven’t had problems with cold hands and feet since I started 3 months ago. In fact, I’m back to my hot-as-a-furnace status.

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