Do you suffer from cold feet?
The question is more than just an expression!
Cold feet can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from temperature conditions to more serious underlying health concerns. Remember, it is always best to consult a physician regarding your specific symptoms if they continue to persist and are not responding to treatment.
How do we get cold hands and feet?
According to medical research, cold feet are a response to our body experiencing colder temperatures. This means when the body enters a colder area, blood vessels in the extremities (our hands and feet) will constrict, causing a reduction of blood flow to those areas.
While in colder areas, our body’s natural reaction is to protect our vital organs first. Since our extremities are furthest from our vital organs (heart, lungs etc.), we lose blood flow in our extremities first resulting in their cold sensation. With this decreased blood flow, decreased oxygen may occur in the affected tissues and make hands and feet turn a blue-ish color. However, as the body warms up again, color and sensation should return.
How can we prevent cold hands and feet?
Thankfully, oftentimes sensations of cold hands and feet can be reversed quickly. If the feeling is not a result of a more serious underlying health condition, try these options below to speed up your recovery.
Movement: keep it simple and get active. By moving around, (running, jumping jacks etc.) we can help blood flow all around our body. Keeping blood circulating at the start of feeling cold can help avoid the feeling entirely.
Socks and Slippers: if movement is not enough, try combining the activity with a pair of sturdy and insulating socks. With a variety of lengths and styles to choose from, Heat Holders® is sure to have the right pair for you. Slipping on a pair of slippers to add an additional protective layer between your feet and the cold floor surface can also help prevent feet from feeling cold while indoors.
Gloves and Mittens: in a similar manner, thick, long gloves and mittens can help keep your fingers warm. In the home or outside, wearing a pair throughout the day can protect your hands from uncomfortable cold sensations common during the winter season. Make sure to keep them dry to have your hands feeling their best!
Foot Baths: if you’re looking for extra comfort and relief, one of the quickest solutions is to submerge your feet in a warm footbath. Fill up a bathtub or basin with warm water and allow feet to soak for 10-15 minutes. Normally this will be just enough time to have fresh blood circulating again. It may be a good idea to soak your feet before bed too to reduce tension, relax muscles, and preserve heat before a good night’s sleep.
Heating Pads and Insoles: several companies offer heating pads that can help you keep warm. If needed, try placing a heated pad under your feet or near your hands while you sleep or work. Heating pads may also help soothe sore muscles in the feet after standing all day. Keeping heat insoles inside pockets or shoes while outdoors can also aid in prevention of cold feelings. Remember to ensure these insoles are safe to use by reading their labels and enjoy the several hours of additional warmth they can provide.
Consume Vitamin C: fortunately, aiding relief of cold symptoms can start with what you consume too. Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin to support blood circulation. It is also an antioxidant and can aid in inflammatory conditions amongst many other benefits. Vitamin C can be found in foods such as citrus fruits, onions and kale.
Other Potential Medical Conditions.
Although cold feet and hands are most commonly a result of our body’s exposure to cold temperatures, there are many other health conditions that cold hands and feet can be a result of. If you think you may have an underlying condition, speak to a registered physician as soon as possible with a record of your symptoms.
Poor circulation is one of the most common causes of cold feet and hands. Poor circulation makes it difficult for warm blood to frequently meet all ends of the body. Circulation issues can arise from heart conditions such as anemia or can be a result of a sedentary lifestyle from sitting for prolonged periods.
Nerve damage from health issues such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may also be the cause of cold feet. Along with nerve damage, the feet can experience an uncomfortable tingling or numbness too.
Hypothyroidism, another condition that can cause cold extremities, occurs when the thyroid is underactive and not producing enough of the thyroid hormone. An underactive thyroid then interferes with the body’s metabolism. Metabolism is the controlling factor of heartbeat and body temperature, therefore if it is underactive, can directly result in reduced circulation and create cold hands and feet as well.
Although cold hands and feet are a symptom no one enjoys, there are many simple yet effective methods we can actively use to reduce these negative symptoms. Remember, if you think your symptoms of cold hands and/or feet may be a sign of a more urgent health condition, contact a physician right away.
At other times, a pair of warm socks, a heated environment, and Vitamin C can aid with cold symptoms and have you feeling back to your best self in no time.
Stay warm and stay safe everyone!