Cold hands, warm heart…is there a connection?
While there is no medical evidence of a tie between cold hands and warm hearts, there are seven possible causes for cold hands and feet which are not-weather related.
Women tend to have colder hands and feet than men, most likely related to hormones; however, there can be some medical conditions some serious, some not, that can cause our extremities to feel like they are in the freezer!
• Poor circulation, or more specifically, impaired blood flow to our hands and feet caused by blocked arteries, can contribute to cold hands or feet. This can potentially be a harbinger for a heart attack or stroke. A blocked artery in the feet or hands can be reflective of overall poor cardiovascular health and can in some circumstances be a medical emergency.
• Diabetes can cause problems with smaller arteries leading to cold hands and feet. That is just another good reason to do whatever is humanly possible to stave off this disease.
• Reynaud’s disease is a condition that causes your arteries to go into spasm, especially when you are exposed to the cold. This disease is characterized by the evolving red, white and blue appearance of the affected limb and is particularly painful. Those who have it should move to a warmer environment, or keep bundled up.
• Thyroid disease, particularly a slow or under active thyroid, will give you the feeling that you are cold. A simple blood test can determine if this is the cause of your shivers.
• Connective tissue/autoimmune disorders, like lupus and scleroderma, are known for causing vascular inflammation leading to diminished blood flow and sometimes even predispose you to developing a blood clot... all of which can make your feet and hands cold.
• Anemia can cause you to be cold sensitive although the mechanism is unclear.
• Cold weather will certainly affect the temperature of your hands and feet. At the first feeling of extreme cold, go indoors, drink some hot cocoa or any hot drink and head for the ER if you show signs of frostbite.
As always if these symptoms are severe, come on suddenly, or last for a long time with no obvious cause, you should seek medical attention sooner rather than later…cause cold hands and feet can affect your heart.