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Frozen Fingers? and Chilly Toes? 10 Life Hacks to Beat Cold Extremities Syndrome

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Cold extremities syndrome is when your hands or feet become uncomfortably cold, even if the temperature isn’t freezing. While it typically affects the hands and feet, it can also be felt in various body parts, such as the knees or waist. We looked into the causes of cold extremities syndrome and potential solutions.

Worsening Cold Extremities Syndrome as the Weather Gets Colder

As the weather gets colder, cold extremities syndrome, which causes your hands and feet to feel cold, worsens. People with cold hands and feet may not take it seriously as they experience it daily, but if it persists for a long time, it can lead to other undiagnosed health problems. This is because cold extremities syndrome is not just a simple circulatory disorder but can also be a symptom of different diseases. If the condition persists or worsens, it is crucial to identify the exact cause.

Cases Resulting from Other Diseases

Raynaud’s syndrome is when the sympathetic nerves become overly sensitive, leading to excessive constriction of the peripheral blood vessels and hindering proper blood circulation. This typically occurs when exposed to cold for extended periods or when the hands and feet are submerged in cold water. Excessive constriction of the blood vessels can disrupt the oxygen supply to the hands and feet, causing symptoms like itching, numbness, or pain. Depending on the severity, the color of the hands and feet may also change.

It Can Also Occur If You Have Arteriosclerosis

You may experience cold extremities syndrome due to poor blood circulation if you have arteriosclerosis. In this case, symptoms usually appear in the lower body. There’s a high chance that risk factors for other diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, coexist. Peripheral neuropathy can also cause cold extremities syndrome, characterized by accompanying symptoms of numbness and decreased sensation.

What If There’s No Special Disease?

If cold extremities syndrome is not caused by an underlying disease and is simply due to blood stagnation, it’s not advisable to ignore it. Areas with circulatory disorders are prone to temperature drops and swelling. Poor blood flow can also lead to symptoms of low blood pressure.

Raising the Body’s Overall Temperature Helps

Raising the overall body temperature is beneficial if you have severe cold extremities syndrome. This is because blood must circulate actively to flow to the hands and feet. It’s best to layer thin clothes to minimize heat loss and wear socks or slippers on your feet. Try to consume warm water rather than cold water, and if you’ve been in a cold place for a long time, warm your body with a foot bath or half-body bath.

Increase Iron Intake

Iron-rich foods like red meat, fish, eggs, and chocolate improve blood circulation. Iron is crucial because it binds with hemoglobin in our red blood cells to help transport oxygen throughout the body. An iron deficiency can lead to insufficient oxygen delivery, causing symptoms like cold and numb hands and feet.

Wear Loose Clothes

The most important thing for cold extremities syndrome is blood circulation. Tight pants or stockings can increase the pressure inside the veins and hinder blood circulation. To keep the whole body warm, it’s better to layer multiple thin clothes, and it’s advisable to avoid tight or perfectly fitting clothes.

Do Sleeping Socks Help?

Typically, people can easily feel warmth by wearing sleeping socks as they help maintain body temperature. However, body temperature is not kept for those suffering from cold extremities syndromes, and sweat begins to form inside the sleeping socks. Afterward, as the sweat cools, it can lower the temperature, making the feet colder. Not only that, but winter essentials like hand warmers and hot packs can temporarily raise the temperature of your hands and feet, but they don’t solve the fundamental problem.

Women Experience It More Than Men

Women with menstrual cramps or irregular periods may lack blood due to hormonal imbalances or menstruation. When blood circulation is not performed properly, the body’s peripheral temperature drops quickly. Menstruation, childbirth, menopause, etc., can affect the autonomic nervous system, reducing the amount of blood supplied to the peripheral body, including the hands and feet, especially in women in their mid-40s.

Stress and Sleep Are Deeply Related

Lack of sleep and stress can trigger the sympathetic nervous system, causing blood vessels to constrict. Stress and insomnia require efforts to resolve through regular exercise or hobbies. Depending on the situation, a consultation with a specialist may also help receive a prescription for anti-anxiety or sleeping pills.

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