What Causes Cold Hands and Feet
October 9, 2008, last updated April 3, 2013

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
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Ever notice that young children never have cold hands and
feet? Why is that? And why is that, as we get older, almost all
of us develop colder hands and cold feet.


The answer is in our capillaries. And in the tons of sugar we eat.

What's going on?   What is the connection between cold hands
and feet and eating sugar?


When extra sugar is present in your blood stream, the sugar
molecules attach to red blood cells, a process know as
"glycation".  

Glycation is a vicious phenomenom.  When sugar molecules
glycate, they become jagged.  They act like little knives,
running trough your blood vessels, slicing and dicing anything
they come into contact with.

This glycation effect is most severe in capillaries, the tiny blood
vessels that connect arteries to veins, because capillaries are
not much bigger than a single blood cell.  As the jagged
glycated sugar molecules move through the tiny capillaries,
they cause micro clots and scar tissue.

If the damage is to the capillaries in your eyes, you go blind. If
the damage is to the capillaries in your kidneys, you get kidney
damage.  You see the pattern?  Blindness and kidney failure are
two of the most common complications of diabetes.

























When we're younger, we eat a lot of sugar but our capillaries
are young too. As we get older, the damage to our capillaries
from years and years of sugar overload build up. There is more
and more scar tissue blocking the path of the warm blood
trying to reach our  fingers and feet.

Circulation slows down. No warm blood reaching our hands
and feet means cold hands and feet. (
Here are other causes of
bad circulation.)


There are of course other conditions which can cause cold
hands and feet such as
anemia , cold vasospasm (constricting
of vessels in cold weather) and Raynaud's phenomenon, but
diabetes is by far the most common cause.

So, if you find your self complaining of cold hands or feet,
please have your blood sugar levels checked.

Update:

Sleep Deprivation Causes Cold Hands and Feet

Losing even one night of sleep can make your hands and feet
cold. A 2012 study from Department of Sleep and Cognition,
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience examined the effect of
losing a night's sleep on 8 healthy men and women with an
average age of 22. After just one night of lost sleep, hands and
feet turned noticeably cold. As the study concluded,"Sleep
deprivation induced a marked dissociation of thermoregulatory
skin temperature gradients, indicative of attenuated heat loss
from the hands co-occurring with enhanced heat loss from the
feet."

Remedies for Cold Hands and Cold Feet

1. Treat Diabetes. Cold hands and feet caused by diabetes can
of course be alleviated wonce your condition is properly
controlled with medication (insulin) or changes to diet and
lifestyle. (Learn more about foods that help you control your
blood sugar.)

2.
L-Arginine. L-arginine is an amino acid found in foods such
as red meat, poultry and dairy. It can also be purchased in
supplement form either as a pill or as a cream.  According to
the
National Institutes of Health, L-arginine has been found
effective in improving blood circulation to the feet of diabetics,
increasing the temperature of cold feet.  L-arginine is
considered safe but, if you have low blood pressure, you
should consult your doctor before using L-arginine because it
tends to lower blood pressure.

3.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Cold Hands Caused by Raynaud's
Syndrome
. Raynaud's syndrome can cause extremely cold
hands and feet. Research has found several natural remedies
that help, including taking about 4 grams a day of fish oil
concentrate. (Read more about
natural remedies for Raynaud's
syndrome.)

4.
Hypothyroidism Can Cause Cold Feet. A little known cause of
cold feet is
under-active thyroid, a condition called
"hypothyroidism". Your thyroid is responsible in part for your
rate of metabolism. An under-active thyroid can reduce your
body's metabolism. A lower metabolism means your body's
"furnace", its metabolism, runs at a slower pace, which leads to
cold feet. This is the reason many people with an underactive
thyroid wear socks to be at night.

Related:
Bad Circulation -Top 10 Causes and Remedies / Foods That
Lower Blood Pressure  / Foods That Help You Cotrol Blood
Sugar /Arteries-How to Keep Them Healthy / Healing Foods/
Anemia-Top 10 Foods That Fight Anemia

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