Cold Feet & Cold Hands: Causes and Treatment Options

Author: Henrik Aulbach



Lesezeit: 3 min

Cold feet and cold hands can be signs of health problems. For example, smokers often complain about constantly having cold hands and feet due to compromised blood circulation, resulting in insufficient blood flow to the hands and feet. To allay your concerns, we will discuss possible causes and treatment options here.

Cold Hands and Feet: Why Do Extremities Cool Down?

Our body is designed to maintain a constant temperature of 37 °C. At this body temperature, all metabolic processes function optimally. When we, for instance, get cold, our body strives to maintain its core temperature. To achieve this, blood supply to the hands and feet is reduced so that more blood remains in the warm core, resulting in less body heat loss.

By the way, women often have colder hands and feet. Their bodies tend to collect warmth centrally, possibly to protect an unborn child. Additionally, women have fewer muscles and thinner skin, causing heat to dissipate more quickly.

If you experience a warm head despite cold hands and feet, it's a positive sign. Like our body, your head also tries to maintain its operational temperature to function properly. This suggests that your body's thermoregulation is functioning well.

Cold Hands and Feet in Illness

As we can see, the cause of cold feet can simply be due to temperature. However, if you experience constantly cold hands and feet even in summer, it could be due to an underlying illness. Cold hands and feet can be symptoms of the following diseases:

  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Nerve damage
  • Low blood pressure

So, if you notice increased cold hands and feet without an obvious reason such as general cold weather, you should consult a doctor. They can potentially rule out common illnesses that can cause cold extremities. Subsequently, you will know that no underlying medical condition is responsible for these complaints.

Cold Hands and Feet: What to Do?

If you have visited a doctor and they couldn't identify a cause like an illness for your cold hands and feet, you can try some measures on your own to address the issue.

In winter, for example, make sure to dress warmly. When your body senses that too much heat is being lost, it may reduce blood flow to the hands and feet, causing them to cool down. Tight shoes can also be a reason for feeling cold in your feet. A thick shoe sole can provide insulation against cold from the ground.

Increased physical activity can stimulate blood circulation to the extremities. A short walk in winter can help warm up your feet again.

By the way, crossing or crossing your legs can hinder blood circulation, so you should avoid it when experiencing cold hands and feet.

Excessive coffee and alcohol consumption can contribute to cold hands and feet. That mulled wine at the Christmas market might seem like a promising source of warmth at first glance. However, the alcohol in mulled wine dilates blood vessels, causing increased heat loss and consequently reducing blood flow to the extremities.

Foot Massages and Rising Foot Baths according to Kneipp can help stimulate blood circulation in the feet. This can potentially improve their thermoregulation.

To combat cold feet in bed, warming creams can be helpful as they promote blood circulation through essential oils. Contrast showers are another option that could potentially enhance the body's thermoregulation.

Furthermore, you should naturally refrain from smoking. Smokers and alcohol consumers often experience cold hands and feet. Smoking can lead to narrowed blood vessels, resulting in less blood reaching the extremities.

Cold Feet & Hands: Frequently Asked Questions

What to do against cold hands?

First, you should consult a doctor to rule out diseases as the cause. Afterward, there can be numerous reasons for cold hands. You can try the following:

  • more sleep and less stress
  • balanced diet
  • hand massages and, if applicable, warming creams
  • dress warmly in winter
  • limit coffee consumption
  • refrain from alcohol and cigarettes

Why are my hands always cold?

There can be numerous causes. Your hands can become cold due to conditions like diabetes. However, most often, cold hands occur as a way to conserve body heat. In winter, cold hands often indicate that your body is trying to save warmth. In such cases, bundling up can be helpful.

What to Do About Cold Feet in Bed?

To combat cold feet in bed, you can try foot massages, contrast showers (alternating hot and cold water), warmth creams, or gradual foot baths. Foot massages and warmth creams can acutely enhance foot circulation. Contrast showers and foot baths aim to improve foot thermoregulation, although their effectiveness has not been proven.

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