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"Why are my hands and feet always freezing?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy are my hands and feet always freezing?


I'm a 22 year-old woman. I had my doctor check my thyroid levels because I felt I was showing many symptoms of having thyroid problems. He said my results were fine. I'd like to know what would cause hands that are very cold even when it is warm outside. Even when I am hot myself, my hands and feet always seem to be freezing.


A sensation of cold hands and feet is caused by individual variations in "vascular tone." This means that in some people the blood vessels of the hands and feet tend to clamp down, resulting in reduced blood flow to these areas, which leads to the sensation of coldness. Usually this is not a problem. However, there is a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon. In this condition, occasionally the hands or feet first turn white (due to decreased blood flow) and then blue and painful and then finally red again when blood flow resumes. This is a severe variant of "cold hands and feet." The reason that Raynaud's phenomenon should be evaluated by a doctor is that it can sometimes be associated with a connective tissue disorder, such as scleroderma. You should especially get it checked out if you have other concerning symptoms, such as tightening of the skin on the hands and face, joint pain, or difficulty swallowing. Everyone with cold hands and feet or Raynaud's phenomenon should also avoid other damaging chemicals that affect the blood vessels. Basically, this means that you should not smoke, as smoking greatly affects vascular tone. I recommend setting up an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your concerns.

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