What Causes Cold Hands and Feet?

Why are my hands and feet always cold, but my body is warm? Experiencing cold hands and feet can be pretty normal, especially in chilly weather. However, if you notice this happening often, even when it’s not cold outside, it might be due to several reasons. Let’s explore some of the main causes behind this chilly phenomenon.

What Causes Cold Hands and Feet?

Poor Circulation

One of the most common reasons for cold hands and feet is poor blood circulation. Your blood carries warmth throughout your body, so if it’s not flowing well, your extremities (like your hands and feet) might feel cold.

Factors Affecting Circulation:

  • Sedentary Lifestyle: If you spend a lot of time sitting, your blood circulation can slow down.
  • Tight Clothing: Wearing clothes or shoes that are too tight can restrict blood flow.
  • Smoking: This habit damages your blood vessels and can lead to poorer circulation.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon causes some areas of your body, like your fingers, ears, toes, knees, nipples, or nose, to feel numb and cold in response to cold weather or stress. During an attack of Raynaud’s, these areas turn white and then blue. When you warm up, they might throb and turn red.

What Triggers Raynaud’s?

  • Cold Temperatures: Even a slight chill can trigger an episode.
  • Emotional Stress: Stressful situations can also lead to Raynaud’s attack.


Your thyroid gland regulates your body’s metabolism. When it’s not active enough (a condition called hypothyroidism), it can make you feel colder than usual, including having cold hands and feet.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Feeling Tired: You might feel unusually tired or sluggish.
  • Weight Gain: Gaining weight without changing your diet or exercise habits is common.
  • Dry Skin: You might notice your skin getting drier.


Anemia occurs when you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to transport sufficient oxygen to your body’s tissues. This can leave you feeling tired and cold, particularly in your hands and feet.

Common Signs of Anemia:

  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired is a vital sign.
  • Pale Skin: Your skin might look less colorful than usual.
  • Shortness of Breath: You may find yourself out of breath more easily.

Lifestyle Factors

Sometimes, the cause of cold hands and feet is simply related to your lifestyle or environment. For instance:

  • Stress: High stress can lead to reduced blood flow.
  • Caffeine and Alcohol: These can constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow.
  • Diet: Not eating enough or not getting the proper nutrients, like Vitamin B12, can make you feel colder.

When to See a Doctor

If you frequently have cold hands and feet, especially if it’s accompanied by changes in skin color or other symptoms, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor. They can help figure out if there’s an underlying condition that needs treatment.

While cold hands and feet can be uncomfortable, they’re often a sign of something that’s easily managed or treated. Keep an eye on your symptoms and lifestyle habits, and seek medical advice if you’re concerned.

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