#Coldhands #Hypothermia #Frostbite #Irondeficiencyanemia #Peripheralneuropathy
#Cold hands most of the time mean that your general body temperature is dropping. Your body does this to protect the internal organs from this extreme loss of temperature that could otherwise damage them. Again, icy hands remind you to cover the hands before your body goes into serious hypothermia. Before the hands turn cold, people may notice the purple, red, blue, or white color on their palms. Cold hands have many causes, starting from cold environmental temperatures to poor circulation and anemia, thyroid problems to heart conditions. To properly understand this, it's important to start from the basics of temperature regulation in the body. To begin with, body muscles, organs, and the brain produce heat in several ways. Your muscles, for example, can produce heat through shivering, and we generate this heat to the rest of the body by the blood. Your thyroid gland also releases some hormones (T3 and T4) to increase your metabolism through a process known as hormonal thermogenesis. The activities of these hormones increase the energy your body creates and the amount of heat it produces. During hot days, your body does not require conserving a lot of heat and therefore it causes dilation of the blood vessels. Here, the blood vessels dilate, they come into close contact with the skin surface, and the blood loses some of the excess heat it carries to the external environment. When it gets cold, your body does vice versa. It causes vasoconstriction of the same blood vessels, which shunts blood into the deeper layers of the skin. This means that your body does not lose this heat, so you remain warm. Having seen how a body regulates its core temperature, let’s now jump into causes of chilly hands. They include:

Frostbite. This is also called frostnip and happens when the blood vessels constrict, allowing less blood to flow to the hand tissues. Just like any other organ, many blood vessels, which constantly avail oxygen and glucose to muscles, cells, and tissues of the hands, supply your hands. Having frostbite means that some of this blood supply is usually cut short and therefore your hands end up turning white. In severe cases, frostbite can attack the deeper tissues of the skin, depriving them of oxygen. Failure to receive enough oxygen is life-threatening as it causes tissue death, and this explains why people with severe frostbite ends up having their arms amputated. Frostbite occurs mostly in people who enjoy camping, mountain climbing or live in areas where the temperatures go beyond zero degrees during winter. Minor frostbite can go away once your body temperature returns to normal. You can dip your hands into warm water, wear warm gloves or mittens to protect your hands from getting frostbite. Aloe vera ointment is good to relieve pain caused by frostbite.

Hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body gets exposed to extreme temperatures below 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Hypothermia is usually a dangerous condition because your body can shut down slowly even without you realizing it. Once your body realizes that you are exposed to such harsh temperatures, it gets shutting blood from the extremities such as legs and hands. Coldwater and cold weather are the most common causes of hypothermia and when not treated on time, you can end up in a total body shutdown of loss of organ function. Minor hypothermia dissolves on its own upon wearing warm clothes, drinking warm fluids such as water, and warming the hands in warm water. If the case is severe, you may require going to the emergency room for proper monitoring and observation. Treatment of hypothermia includes administration of warm intravenous fluids and humidified oxygen in the lungs.

Iron Deficiency Anemia. Anemia is a condition caused by a reduced number of red blood cells within the body. Red blood cells are an important blood component that helps in the transportation of oxygen to the rest of body tissues. They also carry the carbon dioxide from tissues and organs to the lungs, which is then eliminated through breathing out. This means that if you don't have enough red blood cells, you will have less hemoglobin, a protein that enables your body to circulate oxygen. Apart from that, anemia can also be caused by severe bleeding, inability to absorb iron, and nutritional deficiencies. So, people who have this condition may experience chilly hands because the amount of blood reaching their hands is minimal. Considering that this blood carries heat with it when it doesn't reach the hands, you’ll end up feeling cold. Anemia treatment includes oral supplements, eating foods rich in iron such as spinach and kales, blood transfusion in case of severe anemia among others.

Peripheral Neuropathy. Underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, cause peripheral neuropathy. This condition arises from the disruption of the peripheral nervous system, comprising nerves found outside the brain and the spinal cord. Your body comprises many peripheral nerves that supply your extremities, including the hands. Damage to one of these nerves may give you icy hands, which then trigger unending pain. Diabetes, for example, is one condition that causes peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes causes high blood sugar that damages your nerves, stopping them from sending messages to different parts of your body. This nerve damage then causes more health problems that can range from mild numbness to pain that makes it hard for you to perform simple tasks such as walking, cooking, and showering. In fact, according to statistics, over half of all people with diabetes have nerve damage. Other conditions that cause peripheral neuropathy include infections, exposure to toxic chemicals such as tobacco, autoimmune diseases, medications, among others. Treatment of peripheral neuropathy depends on the cause and severity of the condition. However, medications like gabapentin can treat nerve pain (neuralgia) to ease your discomfort, exercises to lose the extra weight that exposes you to nerve-related diseases, and safety measures to prevent infection or more damage to the infected parts of the body.

The Bottom Line. Cold hands have many causes, such as exposure to extremely cold temperatures, neuropathic conditions like diabetes, infections, frostbite, anemia, exposure to toxic chemicals, etc. Having chilly hands is a sign that your body is going into hypothermia. So, the body stops the blood from reaching the extremities in order to protect your most delicate organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver. This makes you experience pain and cold sensations so that you can warm your hands. Mild, chilly hands may not raise an alarm and can resolve on their own upon wearing warm clothing or having warm fluids. However, extreme cold hands may require immediate medical attention for proper treatment. Extreme cold is life-threatening because it can impair body cells and lead to organ damage. These damaged organs may not be useful anymore as the cells are usually dead and this makes many people go into an amputation. Also, extreme hypothermia can shut down the body, making you go into a coma and death. Instead of all this, why cannot you always wear warm clothes in cold weather and get proper treatment for medical conditions? Click here to see more causes of cold hands:
#Cold #Coldhands #Frostbite #freezinghands #Coldweather #Coldtemperature #Painfulhands #Hypothermia #IDA #Gangrene #Amputation #Poorcirculation #Peripheralneuropathy

Why Are My Hands Cold?