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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 December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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