ZocdocAnswersWhat causes cold, clammy skin and swollen ankles?

Question

What causes cold, clammy skin and swollen ankles?

88 year old feels hot but skin is cold and clammy and ankles swollen. very sleepy all the time....is on thyroxine and med for high b/p

Answer

These are concerning symptoms. I would strongly recommend that you have the person see his or her doctor. There are a few causes of this, some of which are very dangerous and require immediate treatment. If he or she begins to feel worse, an immediate visit to the emergency room may be required. In general, the symptoms you describe are nondescript. Cold, clammy skin can happen in many conditions, and therefore it is hard to specifically say what is causing. We know that many sick people can experience this so it is a sign of concerning disease. Feeling cold can be associated with infections (some very serious), cancers, hormonal disturbances. In terms of things that are most likely, I would recommend having the thyroid function checked. The person is taking medicine because of insufficient thyroid function, and therefore it maybe that you are not taking enough medicine. This is known as hypothyroid and can cause fatigue, cold feeling, constipation, skin changes and in the end stage swelling of the extremities (myxedema coma). I would also worry about heart problems --- known as congestive heart failure. This can be caused by high BP and can cause swelling, fatigue, shortness of breath and trouble sleeping. Please see a doctor urgently.

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