Hands Always Cold? Here’s What That May Indicate

Hands Always Cold? Here’s What That May Indicate

You are working in the office and the heat is on, but your hands are cold. Unless you are outside during winter with no gloves or the air conditioning is cranking, your hands shouldn’t feel frigid. If this is a frequent feeling you experience, something more serious may be the root cause. 

There are many reasons that can indicate cold hands and fingertips. It may be a neurological, endocrine, or even cardiovascular issue, but it may also be a side effect of certain medications. If you have anemia, thyroid disease, nervous system disorders, lupus, or diabetes, you are more prone to having cold hands. An arterial blockage, for example, prevents blood from reaching certain points in the body, which may also induce coldness in the hands. If ever the hands start to go numb or experience pain as a result, then medical attention may be necessary. 


Reports say that up to 70% of American adults with diabetes experience neuropathy, or nerve damage. This can lead to uncomfortable sensations in the hands and feet. The feeling is often described as tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation. Sometimes, however, the condition can cause a stabbing or throbbing sensation. If diabetes is the issue, it’s beneficial to make dietary changes to help control blood sugar and weight. Regular exercise and healthy eating can help slow the progression or sensation of neuropathy.

Underactive Thyroid

Hypothyroidism is characterized by an underactive thyroid, which is a common cause of cold hands. The thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, slowing several of the body’s metabolic functions. This can make a person very sensitive to cold temperatures and cause other symptoms like joint pain, fatigue, and weight gain. Hypothyroidism is easy to address and you shouldn’t neglect it. In most cases, taking synthetic thyroid hormone can help reverse the symptoms so you can feel normal again. 

Iron-Deficiency Anemia

One of the telltale signs of iron-deficiency anemia is cold hands, in addition to fatigue or shortness of breath. One of iron’s primary functions is to produce hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. Iron-deficiency anemia means that there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells in the body, making it difficult for the body to deliver oxygen everywhere. The last places to which blood travels are the extremities, i.e. the hands and feet. You may need to take iron supplements, but you can increase your iron intake by consuming certain foods. Click here for more information.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon, or Raynaud’s syndrome, is a condition that makes the hands feel cold. It causes blood vessels in the hands and fingers to constrict when a person feels stressed or cold, which reduces blood flow. The attacks of this condition tend to strike when a person experiences a rapid temperature shift. Most medical professionals say that it’s the most common cause of cold hands. A person can have the condition by itself, meaning it doesn’t have to occur because of another condition. Repetitive hand motions like typing or playing a musical instrument, or even using construction tools can cause this condition. To help remedy the Raynaud’s syndrome, you have to avoid the triggers that cause hands to become cold. Warm the hands whenever they do get cold and symptoms should subside within 15 minutes. 

You Take Certain Medications

It may seem like an odd reason to have cold hands, but starting a new medication can be the cause. Birth control pills, beta blockers, high blood pressure meds, migraine medications, or over-the-counter cold and allergy pills can trigger Raynaud’s syndrome. If you start new medication and experience cold hands, discuss changing the dosage or switching medications with your doctor. That may alleviate the problem, but if that’s not a viable option then do your best to warm your hands. 

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