From time to time, everyone can feel cold feet. But there are people whose feet remain cold almost always, even in 30-degree heat. Why are my feet freezing and is it dangerous?
Causes of Cold Feet
Air temperature reduction
When a person freezes, his legs, as a rule, also become cold. This is a normal reaction of the body to a decrease in air temperature. Explaining why this happens is pretty easy. In the cold, blood vessels in the upper and lower extremities are spasmodic, therefore, the blood circulation through them decreases and in these parts of the body a person feels cold. Why in the cold is it in the extremities that blood flow is disturbed? There is also an explanation for this. Nature in an amazing way took care of human self-preservation. All vital organs are located in the center of the body. That is, sufficient blood circulation in this area should always be maintained, even when it is cold. And the conservation of heat in the central part of the body occurs due to the outflow of blood from more distant and not so important, from the point of view of maintaining vitality, arms and legs. When the threat of freezing for the internal organs is over, that is, the person will return to heat, the circulation in the legs and arms is restored, and with it the temperature in the limbs.
If a person stays in the cold for a very long time and blood circulation in the extremities is disturbed for a long time, this can cause cyanosis of the legs and arms. It occurs due to a deficiency of oxygen in the tissues. If this symptom is temporary and after warming the body goes away, you can not worry. Otherwise, you can not do without consulting a doctor.
Severe stress and anxiety
In some people, the legs and arms become cold due to stress or anxiety. The fact is that under stress, an adrenaline rush occurs in the body. As it spreads through the body, peripheral blood vessels are spasmodic, thereby reducing blood flow to the limbs. This kind of reaction allows the body to accumulate energy and prepare for self-defense.
The modern world is full of stress, and the longer a person remains in a stressful state, the longer his legs remain cold. Reducing stress and anxiety will help relieve stress and reduce unpleasant consequences.
Most often, the cause of cold legs and hands is a violation of blood circulation, which can be caused by various reasons.
A sedentary lifestyle and sedentary work over time lead to circulatory disorders in the lower extremities. The consequences are not difficult to predict: the legs almost always remain cold.
Most smokers eventually have problems with blood vessels, blood flow in the limbs is disturbed. And this also explains why smokers are constantly freezing feet.
Another common cause of constantly cold legs is high cholesterol, which affects the speed of blood flow through the vessels. If the body has a lot of cholesterol, plaques form on the walls of the arteries, which reduce the throughput of blood vessels. This leads to impaired blood flow in the legs and, as a result, a decrease in their temperature.
People with heart diseases often complain of permanent cold in their legs. If the heart is weakened and unable to pump blood with the necessary strength, it is quite possible to feel chilliness. Therefore, if a person often and severely freezes his lower limbs, you need to undergo examinations and consult a cardiologist.
If the cause of the freezing legs is vascular disease, then, in addition to feeling cold, the patient may have the following symptoms:
- very white or bluish skin on the fingers or toes;
- tingling, throbbing or numbness of limbs;
- clammy and cold skin.
Anemia, also known as anemia, is a condition in which too few red blood cells (red blood cells) are produced in the human body, and as a result, a decrease in hemoglobin. This problem can be caused by various factors, including deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid. Anemia is also often diagnosed in people with chronic kidney disease. And which is characteristic, in the presence of anemia, people often freeze at their feet, even in the heat.
If the cause of cold legs is a lack of hemoglobin, then, in addition to this symptom, the patient may have unhealthy pallor of the skin, a violation of the heart rhythm, as well as increased fatigue. After improving blood tests, the cold in the lower extremities, like other symptoms of anemia, should disappear.
People with diabetes are at risk for circulatory disorders. That is why many of them have hands and feet that are constantly cold.
Frequent jumps in sugar levels can lead to spasm of the arteries and poor blood supply to the tissues, which causes the legs to freeze. Often against the background of diabetes, diabetic peripheral neuropathy develops - one of the forms of damage to nerve cells. In this case, the legs will also always freeze, but also tingling, numbing, and sometimes severely burning (these symptoms often appear at night).
Also, in people with diabetes, diabetic nephropathy often develops as a complication, one of the symptoms of which is constantly cold feet. You can suspect a disease if the patient not only constantly freezes, but also complains of nausea, itching, loss of appetite, uneven breathing, as well as swelling on the face, arms and legs.
Impaired nerve cells
Damage to nerve cells can cause permanently cold legs. It can occur as a result of trauma, frostbite or complications of the underlying disease. Peripheral neuropathy can develop against a background of kidney or liver disease, be the result of an infectious or genetic disease.
If the cause of cold legs is neuropathy, then, in addition to cold, the patient feels tingling and numbness of the lower extremities.
Hypotheriosis is a disease in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, which as a result affects the overall metabolism. It, in turn, has an effect on the blood circulation, heart rate and body temperature. Therefore, constantly cold legs can be regarded as one of the alarming symptoms that indicate problems in the thyroid gland. People with hypothyroidism, as a rule, are not only very sensitive to cold, but get tired quickly, often have memory problems, they have very thin hair, dry skin and excess weight. Many patients with inadequate thyroid activity complain of constipation, and the menstrual cycle is disturbed in women with the disease.
Anorexia is a very common occurrence among people who strictly follow low-calorie diets, as a result of which their body weight is significantly lower than the norms defined by WHO. One of the symptoms of anorexia, in addition to lack of body weight, is also called chilliness. So if your legs are often and very cold, it makes sense to weigh yourself and check your BMI (body mass index).
Why legs freeze during pregnancy
Pregnant women also often complain that their legs are constantly freezing. Is this normal? Specialists say that various reasons can contribute to this. During pregnancy, the hormonal background in a woman’s body changes significantly. This affects the work of the autonomic nervous system, which, in turn, can affect the quality of blood supply to the lower extremities. In addition, in expectant mothers, the thyroid gland may be disturbed: the gland produces less hormones. Hence the chilliness of the legs.
In addition, during pregnancy, many have a metabolic rate disorder. As a result, even slight fluctuations in air temperature can make the expectant mother feel cold, especially in the lower extremities.
Anemia in women in position is a common occurrence that may also be accompanied by a feeling of cold.
Morning toxicosis can lead to a violation of the nitrogen balance in the body. And this is another explanation why women during pregnancy are very cold in their legs.
How to warm your legs with home methods
Only the doctor can correctly determine the reason why the legs are constantly freezing. He also prescribes the appropriate treatment. Nevertheless, there are different ways by which you can effectively warm your feet and prevent a feeling of cold at home.
The first thing that can be advised to people whose legs often freeze is to move more. Ordinary walks or elementary exercises will help activate blood flow to the legs and thereby warm the limbs. Persons whose work is associated with prolonged sitting, need to get up and walk around the office every hour at least for a few minutes.
Cardiovascular exercise improves blood circulation even more, in particular jogging or jumping. It is enough to do cardio workout every morning so that your legs are warm and comfortable throughout the day.
Do not forget about socks and slippers
Warm socks must be in the wardrobe of people who are constantly freezing at their feet. If the house does not have heated floors, then it is better to forget about walking barefoot, and always wear slippers. Compliance with this rule will help prevent additional heat loss, which means that your legs will not be so cold.
Do foot baths
A warm bath is one of the most effective and fastest ways to warm your feet. It is enough to hold your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes to increase blood circulation in them. Doing such procedures is very useful before bedtime, as they also help relieve tension and relax muscles.
Note: people suffering from diabetes mellitus complicated by neuropathy are forbidden to use foot baths with hot water, as they can cause burns. In the presence of diabetes, the procedure is carried out in water, a little warmer than body temperature.
Use heating pads
When it is very cold in the legs, it is difficult to fall asleep. To warm your feet before going to bed, it’s useful to put a warm heating pad or a plastic bottle filled with hot water at the foot of the bed. By the way, a warm heating pad will also help soothe muscle pain that occurs after a very active day.
When to see a doctor
As already mentioned, in many cases, cold feet are a completely normal phenomenon, for example, after hypothermia. But sometimes this symptom can be a signal of the onset or progression of a disease. If your feet freeze constantly without seemingly obvious reasons, you should definitely consult a specialist.
It is also necessary to consult a doctor if a feeling of cold in the feet is accompanied by other symptoms, such as:
- fatigue and fatigue;
- weight change (loss or increase);
- increase in body temperature;
- joint pain;
- the appearance of ulcers on the feet or toes;
- changes in the skin, including the appearance of a rash, the skin becomes rough or very dry and becomes covered with scales.
If the feet are warm to the touch, but the person still feels cold in them, you should also consult a doctor. Such symptoms usually appear with damage to nerve endings or the development of various neurological diseases.
The treatment of constantly cold feet is determined individually by the doctor and depends on the cause of this condition. In most cases, experts advise patients to regularly do at least morning exercises to improve blood circulation in the body. In addition, moderate physical activity is useful for the prevention of many cardiological disorders. However, in some cases it is impossible to deal with the cause of cold legs without medication. In particular, this applies to patients with hypothyroidism or anemia. If the cause of cold feet is heart disease, the doctor may prescribe drugs from the group of calcium blockers, which contribute to the expansion of blood vessels and better blood circulation.
Sometimes cold feet are normal. It’s not normal if the feet are constantly cold. Therefore, if you observe such a symptom in yourself or someone close to you, do not delay the visit to the doctor. He will determine the exact cause of the discomfort and advise on the most effective methods for warming the feet.
Specialty: doctor pediatrician, infectious disease specialist, allergist-immunologist.
Total experience: 7 years.
Education: 2010, Siberian State Medical University, pediatric, pediatrics.
Experience as an infectious disease specialist for more than 3 years.
He has a patent on the subject "A method for predicting a high risk of the formation of a chronic pathology of the adeno-tonsillar system in frequently ill children." As well as the author of publications in the journals of the Higher Attestation Commission.