Having cold fingers in a cold place is natural, but if your hands are always cold at moderate temperatures, it may indicate an underlying condition such as a vitamin deficiency or autoimmune disorder.
Read on to learn what can cause your hands to feel cold. It’s often caused by cold temperatures or by poor blood circulation in your hand.
Read on to learn about these and other causes of frequently-cold hands and fingers.
While it’s normal to experience cold fingers when you’re in a cold environment, some people have a greater chance than others to develop frostbite.
However, frequently cold fingers and hands at normal temperatures can mean a problem with your blood circulation.
Typically, if your hands are warm and look pink, it means the blood is circulating. If your hands are cold, look bluish, and may be painful, the blood might not be circulating properly. This is called cyanosis.
Six other possible causes follow below.
It’s no surprise that cold temperatures cause cold fingers. But what are the risks of a more serious problem developing? When bare skin is exposed to extreme cold, frostbite can begin to develop within a matter of minutes.
To protect itself from freezing, your body’s priority is to keep the vital organs warm. In cold temperatures, your body instinctively takes the warm blood from your extremities and draws it toward your core, where it can keep your heart, lungs, and other organs protected.
Frostbite, the freezing of the skin and underlying tissues is a medical emergency with serious complications. Once it progresses past the first stage, it can cause permanent damage to the skin, tissues, muscles, and bones.
Raynaud’s syndrome, also called Raynaud’s phenomenon, is a condition that causes some areas of your body — usually your fingers — to feel inappropriately cold and numb when you’re exposed to cold temperatures or high levels of stress. If you have Raynaud’s, you may experience attacks of extremely cold and numb fingers. This happens because the small arteries that supply blood to your skin are in spasm.
During a Raynaud’s attack, the arteries narrow, which prevents blood from circulating correctly. The fingers often change color, going from white to blue to red. As the attack ends and the blood flow to your hands returns to normal, you may experience tingling, throbbing, or swelling.
There are a few conditions that can cause Raynaud’s phenomenon. They include:
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. It’s most common among females over age 60, but it can affect anyone.
If your fingers are feeling unusually cold, it’s possible that you have an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism doesn’t cause cold fingers, but it increases your sensitivity to cold. This means you feel colder than you actually are.
If you’re consistently colder than other people and have additional symptoms, it may be time to get tested.
Hypothyroidism comes on gradually and rarely produces symptoms in the early stages. Over time, the condition can cause complications such as heart disease, pain in the joints, obesity, and infertility.
Learn about other symptoms and treatments for hypothyroidism.
[the terms “male” and “female”]
In this article, we use “male and female” to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes, and “men and women” when referring to their gender (unless quoting from sources using nonspecific language).
Sex is determined by chromosomes, and gender is a social construct that can vary between time periods and cultures. Both of these aspects are acknowledged to exist on a spectrum both historically and by modern scientific consensus.
Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin found naturally in many foods, including eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and dairy products. It’s required for proper red blood cell formation and neurological function. Many people, especially vegetarians, and vegans, don’t get enough of it.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms like coldness, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet.
If your body doesn’t have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen-rich blood to your hands, you may experience cold fingers. You may also feel fatigued and weak. Most cases of anemia are caused by an iron deficiency.
Learn about the types, symptoms, and treatment of anemia
Smoking is bad for your whole body, including your circulation.
Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow, which can cause cold fingers. It can also lead to a rare condition called Buerger’s disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels.
Here are a few strategies you can use to warm up your fingers, fast:
- Put your hands under your armpits to benefit from the warm blood in your core.
- Keep an electric heating pad in the house to use during a Raynaud’s attack.
- Carry hand warmers in your purse or pocket throughout the winter. If you’re planning on spending the day outside in the cold, put hand warmers inside your gloves.
- Try using mittens instead of gloves. Keeping your fingers together creates more warmth.
- Run your hands under warm water until they feel better. Then dry them fully.
- Hold a cup of hot tea.
- Do 10-15 jumping jacks to get your blood pumping.
Why is my body warm but my hands cold?
There are many reasons why your hands might feel colder than the rest of your body. Other than the causes listed in this article, a
The mechanism of how these conditions might cause cold hands or feet is unclear.
Does cold hands and feet mean diabetes?
Diabetes can be an indirect cause of cold hands or fingers because it can affect your blood circulation. It also increases your chance of developing heart and nerve problems, which can also lead to cold limbs.
Can cold hands be a sign of heart disease?
heart disease can cause atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of your arteries due to a build-up of plaque. This can cause circulation problems, which in turn can cause you to feel cold in your hands or your feet.
Cold fingers are a part of life, especially for those living in cold environments. Talk with your doctor about your cold hands, especially if you’re experiencing other symptoms.
Many of the underlying conditions of cold fingers can be managed with treatment and lifestyle changes.