Cold hands

Cold, numb hands with tingling and pain are common in winter in freezing temperatures.

There are many causes that trigger this symptom, even if there is no cold climate.

Usually, the skin has a comfortable temperature thanks to the warm blood that flows in the capillaries.

However, when it is cold, the thermal receptors change and:

  1. narrowing the capillaries,
  2. Direct blood flow (and heat) to the more important internal organs: heart, brain, lungs, etc.

This process is called vasoconstriction.

The main task of the organism is to direct the blood to the vital organs, as a result of which the extremities become colder, for example:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Face.

In women, high levels of estrogen (female hormones) increase sensitivity to low temperatures, thus leading to vasoconstriction, even when it is not cold.

Therefore, women have colder hands even in the different cycle periods.

In addition, women have a higher proportion of body fat than men.

This layer of fat interferes with the heating of the skin because it acts as an insulation layer.

As a result, fat people have a lower skin temperature, even if the entire body is warmer than lean people.


Causes of cold hands

Diet and nutrition

Nutrition plays an important role in a person’s well-being. Therefore, an unhealthy diet (fast food or after major weight loss lacks the necessary nutrients and vitamins) can cause:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Chill.

Feeling cold can be normal, especially in the morning.

The reason is that there is a lot of time between dinner and breakfast and the stomach is without food.

Since digestion generates heat, it is normal to freeze in the morning.

Hormonal imbalance

When a woman enters menopause or is pregnant, her body experiences many hormonal imbalances.

If estrogen levels increase, many symptoms can occur, including cold hands.

This is a mechanism of the body that protects above all during the:

  • Ovulation
  • Pregnancy.

At normal body weight

When a person eats, the body carries the blood to the stomach to aid digestion.

As a result, other areas of the body are supplied with a lower amount of blood and a feeling of cold is induced.

If a person is underweight, he feels the temperature change more strongly than others.

Blood pressure

People who suffer from low blood pressure are more likely to have cold hands and feet.

If a person suffers from low blood pressure, a reduced amount of blood reaches his hands and feet.

Thus, a person becomes more susceptible to cold than others.


If a person takes medication, this can lead to side effects such as cold sensation, for example with beta-blockers.

Thyroid disorders

If a person’s feeling of cold is accompanied by rapid weight gain that cannot be controlled by physical exercise or diet, the person may have thyroid disease.

This problem:

  • Slows down metabolism,
  • May cause cold hands and feet, as well as skin dryness with a paler skin color.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

People with this condition often have very cold hands and feet.

When a normal person is exposed to an extremely cold temperature, the blood in the body flows to the internal organs to maintain the heat.

In people with Raynaud’s syndrome, cold and stress can cause vasospasm, which means that the arteries narrow and blood flow is slowed in the fingers and toes:

  • of hands,
  • of the feet.

This disorder can also cause:

  • Ache
  • Tingle.



According to a scientific study*, a shortened sleep time affects the coordination between:

  • The variations of skin perfusion,
  • Cardiovascular regulation, which prevents congestion of venous blood in the lower limbs when standing.

This leads to cold hands and fingers.

Cold hands and the computer mouse

Many people observe that at least one hand gets cold when they work at the computer or drive the car.

For someone who sits in front of the monitor for a long time, the hand operating the computer mouse may be colder than the other.

Some doctors blame the stress caused by PC overexertion, but it can also be the cause of an incorrect position:

  • of the arm,
  • of the wrist.

According to Kagaya A, Ogita F. (Research Institute of Physical Fitness, Japan Women’s College of Physical Education, Tokyo), blood flow decreases during muscle contraction, while it intensifies during muscular relaxation.

When working at the computer, the muscles of the upper extremities remain tense for long periods of time, especially the wrist and hand.

The result is a reduced blood flow to the fingers, which become cold.

Solutions are:

  • Trying to consciously relax the muscles,
  • Use devices that improve posture, such as an ergonomic mousepad.

Always cold hands

Most often, hands and feet are cold due to circulatory problems, which are symptoms of an underlying disease.

When it’s cold, the body responds by altering circulating blood flow to keep vital organs warm.

Causes of constantly cold hands and tingling

Raynaud’s syndrome

If normal blood circulation decreases for various reasons, there may be a feeling of cold in the hands.

It may be Raynaud’s syndrome.

In this condition, the arterial blood vessels in the fingers constrict abnormally when the temperature drops or cold objects are touched.

The result is a reduced blood circulation and a coldness of the fingers.

The hands become numb, the skin color can change. Women have a greater risk than men of suffering from this Raynaud’s syndrome.


If symptoms of cold hands occur at a low ambient temperature and gloves are not worn, chilblains may form.

They can be recognized by:

  • change in skin colour (which is often blue, black or grey),
  • skin thickening,
  • Blistering.

The person also feels pain and tingling.

After all, prolonged stay in the cold can also damage the blood vessels.

Anxiety and stress

Psychological stress can also trigger this disease.

If you are under excessive stress, the nervous system reacts with a vasoconstriction on the extremities of the body.

People with frequent panic attacks are more likely to have cold-sweaty hands, even in the summer.

A panic attack may seem like a heart attack because the heartbeat is accelerated, but this is not the case.

Sometimes you may feel a warm face, a hot flush due to emotional tension and anxiety, for example, when speaking in public.

Anxiety can also lead to:

  • tingling in fingers and toes,
  • Tachycardia
  • Dizziness or drowsiness in the head.

When talking about cool hands and a hot heart, it refers to a young man in love, because emotions cause this symptom.


Patients with diabetes suffer from nerve lesions, known as peripheral neuropathy, which increase the feeling of cold in the extremities of the body.

In this disease, in addition to cold hands and feet, one feels:

  • A tingling sensation in the fingers and toes,
  • Burn
  • Sensation of pain.


These symptoms may indicate a disorder of the circulatory system.

Peripheral vascular disease, which causes occlusion in the arteries, often causes this condition.

People with the vice of smoking are prone to these circulatory diseases, in which the blood vessels narrow.

Other causes of cold hands

Other causes include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anaemia
  • Side effects of medications.

Cold hands after eating

Some doctors attribute this sensation to:

  • decreased iron levels,
  • A decreased number of red blood cells,
  • Low blood pressure.

Others think that a low-carbohydrate diet would cause the feeling of cold after eating.

Stress can also be involved.

Most doctors agree that the blood focuses on the digestive process.

This diverts the bloodstream from the extremities and brain.

Cold hands and feet in newborns

Before the baby is wrapped in a blanket, his upper body should be felt.

If the child is warm and pink, it means that he is not freezing.

Since the circulatory system of the newborn is still developing, the blood is directed to the organs and vital systems.

Hands and feet are the last areas of the body to receive a good blood supply.

It can take up to three months for blood circulation to fully adapt to life outside the uterus.

What causes blue fingers?

Normally, the bright red and oxygenated blood flowing under the skin causes a pink and reddish color, especially on the fingertips.

Pale skin indicates blood loss, a blue or purple color may indicate a lack of oxygen in the body.

Purple or blue fingers may indicate :

  • Cyanosis
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon,
  • Various diseases.

Oxygen-rich blood

Oxygenated blood gives the skin a pink color.

Deoxygenated blood flows through the veins to the heart and lungs.

This blood lacks oxygen, it is dark and can give the skin a purple or blue color.


Although the dark color of deoxygenated blood is normal on its way to the lungs to receive oxygen, areas with purple or blue skin indicate a condition called cyanosis.

Peripheral cyanosis causes purple discolored fingers and blue nails. On the other hand, central cyanosis causes discoloration of:

  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Lips
  • Torso

The amount of oxygen transported in the blood cells may be disturbed by:

  • Arterial blood clots
  • Lung disease
  • Diseases or deficiencies of the heart
  • Stay in cold air or cold water
  • Living at high altitude.

Natural remedies for cold hands

Nutrition is particularly important for improving blood circulation and body weight loss.

According to various theories of naturopathy, cereals (rice, pasta, bread, pizza, millet, etc.) are mainly responsible for:

  • plaque formation in the arteries,
  • Increased blood sugar.

Therefore, it is recommended to replace cereals with:

  • pulses (chickpeas, peas, beans, lentils, etc.),
  • Pseudocereals (quinoa and amaranth).

Exercise (especially cardiovascular training) is beneficial for the capillaries and improves blood circulation.

Doctors consider swimming to be the best type of exercise.

Some runners have very cold hands while running in winter.

It is recommended to apply a warming oil, devil’s claw cream or tiger balm and put on insulating gloves.

Massage hands and feet immediately if you notice a feeling of coldness.

To warm up the joints, massages with oil, black pepper, ginger and cinnamon are recommended.

An effective home remedy for maintaining proper body temperature is washing hands and feet with hot water before bedtime and wrapping the joints with a terry towel.

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