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"Why are my hands always cold?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy are my hands always cold?

Question

My hand are always colder than the rest of my body. Why?

Answer

The temperature of the extremities of the body (hands and feet) are determined by the dilation and contraction of small blood vessels which regulate the amount of blood passing through the extremities. Individual people have marked variations in how 'warm' or how 'cold' their hands or feet are, and these often just reflects individual variations in how their blood vessels are normally operating. However, there are also several medical problems that are associated with chronically cold extremities. You should ask your primary care doctor about this issue at your next visit, just to make sure there is no evidence of a problem that needs to be treated. For example, hypothyroidism can often cause cold hands. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, and changes in the skin and hair. Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with simple blood tests and is easy to treat with medication. There is also a condition known as Raynaud's phenomenon, in which the blood vessels in the hands periodically constrict dramatically, usually in response to cold temperature. When this happens, the hands may turn white or blue before blood flow returns, and this may cause discomfort or pain. Raynaud's phenomenon needs to be evaluated, because it is sometimes associate with a set of conditions called connective tissue disorders. See your primary care doctor at your earliest convenience!

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