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Having Cold Hands And Feet Can Mean More Serious Health Problems Than Just Bad Circulation

Having Cold Hands And Feet Can Mean More Serious Health Problems Than Just Bad Circulation

It is that time of year when people typically begin to feel the cold, particularly in extremities such as their hands and feet.

While some will cite adverse weather or fluctuations in the bodies temperature as the triggers for this, however, there are other potential causes that are far more serious in their nature, like the ones explained below.

1. Poor Circulation

When people ask ‘why are my hands and feet always cold’, one of the most common answers in poor circulation. This can occur as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and excess smoking, which causes blood vessels to constrict and this reduces the flow of blood to the extremities.

2. Raynaud’s Disease

Despite its relatively obscure nature, Raynaud’s Disease affects 10 million people in the UK alone, with 90% of these being female.

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This condition causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to react negatively to cold temperatures or stress, as blood vessels taper and limit the blood supply throughout the body. Another symptom of this may be pale or dusky coloured digits on your hands and feet.

3. Anemia

Anemia is another condition that causes extreme, pale skin fatigue, along with cold hands and feet. This often occurs as a result of iron deficiency, which is usually diet-related and restricts the flow of oxygen to your blood cells, organs and tissue.

Subsequently, blood flow subsides and your extremities become colder, and anemia can often lead to Raynaud’s Disease if it is not diagnosed.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes can also be a core trigger for cold hands and feet, as a combination of poor circulation and high blood pressure make it difficult for blood to reach your extremities.

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This can be managed when diagnosed, but if not, your symptoms will get progressively worse over time.

Why Are My Hands and Feet Always Cold, and What Can I Do About It?

Remember, it is perfectly normal for your extremities to be cold during the winter, but constant or persistent discomfort may highlight a wider health issue. The triggers for cold extremities are extremely diverse in their nature, however, while they are also complex and potentially debilitating.

This means that it is always advisable to seek out medical consultation if the issue persists for months and beyond the season of winter, in order to determine the precise cause and a viable course of action.

In the meantime, here are some steps that you can take to manage your symptoms and keep your extremities as warm as possible:

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1. Increase your Consumption of Omega 3

During studies of those who suffer with Raynaud’s Disease, it was discovered that fish oil supplements helped to improve blood flow to the extremities. By increasing your intake of Omega-3 and eating at least two fish dishes each week (one of which should be oily), you can keep your hands and feet warmer over a sustained period of time.

If you are a vegetarian you should look to eat Omega-3 enriched eggs, while vegans can consume foods rich in alpha linolenic acid such as soy, tofu and walnuts.

2. Wear Protective Gloves and Socks

While this may sound obvious, wearing protective gloves and socks can help to keep your hands and feet warm whatever the weather.

Remember, hands and feet are subject to conductive cooling at all times, while the latter often sweat and this can eradicate heat at a rate of 25%. So, protective and moisture resistant gloves and socks help to retain heat and keep your hands and feet warm.

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3. Stop Smoking and Live a More Active Lifestyle

We have already discussed how smoking restricts blood vessels and prevents the flow of blood to the extremities, so looking to cut back on your nicotine intake (or eliminate it entirely) can help your body to regulate the temperature of your hands and feet.

Living a more active lifestyle also helps, however, as this offsets the risks posed by ‘sitting disease’ (where excess levels of inactivity can trigger heart disease, diabetes and extremely cold extremities. Women are particularly vulnerable to this, but a regular and sustainable exercise regime can help to avoid such conditions.

4. A Healthy Supply of Iron in Your Diet

By ensuring that you have a healthy supply of iron in your diet, you can minimise the risk of cold extremities by restricting your chances of contracting anemia and Raynaud’s Disease.

Both men and women need to consume 10 mg or iron on a daily basis to remain healthy, although females who are pregnant may need to take up to 30 mg. Iron can be found in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and Swiss Chard, along with soybeans, lentils and sesame seeds.

Hopefully, these steps will help you to cope with the issues posed by cold extremities. If the problem persists, however, be sure to seek out expert medical opinion so you need never again ask yourself ‘why are my hands and feet always cold?’

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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