Do you feel that your feet remain cold, most of the times? Having cold feet is normal when there is cold outside, or there is a significant shift of temperature. The casual term, which we mean by saying cold feet, is not just a temperature change. It is a lot more than that.
Some people have cold feet. Be it having actually cold feet or feeling the feet cold when they are not cold; it means the both. This is a medical condition, which is sometimes harmless, but it may indicate some severe issue.
Does environment cause coldness of feet?
Usually, the cold feet feel when the body responds to environmental stress. When the temperature drops, the blood vessels all around the bodies, constrict. It is a natural process to reduce the heat loss thus making the body heated up.
Sometimes this decrease in heat loss also causes oxygen deficiency. In peripheral parts of the body, oxygen deprivation is more harmful. It shows up as a bluish color bruise-like appearance. This condition is medically called cyanosis.
Cyanosis is not something destructive. It is easy to heal and doesn’t require an external aid. It goes away when the natural circulation and oxygen levels are back to normal.
What causes cold feet in adults?
In stressful conditions, the blood flow to the legs and feet is disturbed. In this case, a cold chilly feeling runs down the leg and feet. It causes a low blood circulation.
However, this is not the only reason to have cold feet. It can represent a variety of health issues. One may be having a nerve damage, which is also called peripheral neuropathy and other chronic conditions. It is necessary to seek medical help for the correct diagnosis as per its reason.
Some of the most common conditions associated with cold feet are as follows.
Poor blood circulation
If we assume that this is the most common cause of having cold feet, it wouldn’t be a lie. The reduced blood circulation makes it very hard for the warm blood to complete its cycle in the whole body. If only it goes its way to feet, they won’t get cold.
The circulatory problems are not natural. Usually, they are associated with cardiac conditions when the heart is not able to control the blood flow, or it doesn’t pump the right amount in right way.
One reason to feel pressure and coldness on feet is when you sit more than usual. It is a condition, which hits people that spend too much time relaxing, either in the office or at home. Smoking can be an underlying factor, which aids in it.
Low red blood cells count/ Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which the body is unable to produce the sufficient amount of red blood cells. It contributes to having cold feet even in healthy people. Iron deficiency is common among people of all age groups.
However, it can be improved by adding iron-based foods in diet along with nutritional supplements. It can be treated relatively quickly with changes in diet and by taking supplements.
Diabetes is a general health condition, which is not directly linked with feet. But the underlying effects may cause to have cold feet. The nerve damage due to diabetes is also one reason, which induces tingling, and numbness feelings.
It goes for both type 1 and types two diabetes. In case you are a diabetic patient and frequently feel cold feet, consult your doctor immediately.
Hypothyroidism is one condition when the thyroid is underactive. It doesn’t produce thyroid hormone, and thus the body becomes deficient in it. It is a big problem in body’s metabolic functioning.
Some side factors that thyroid hormone governs are the heartbeat and body’s temperature. Both these aid in lowering the blood circulation. As a result of which, the patient experiences cold feet, most of the times.
All of the up listed reasons are the major contributors. There are some minor things, which can cause the same. Some of these are written below.
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Raynaud’s phenomenon
- Nerve damage
What is the right time to seek medical assistance?
For a typical thing like cold feet, one may not feel that it is necessary to get this checked by a doctor. But you can always ask the doctor about it whenever you go to visit him for a general checkup.
If it only hits you once in a few months or winters alone, it may not be something alarming. For the frequent patients, it is necessary to get this checked as soon as possible.
Keep a check for the signs and symptoms. For example,
- if the coldness on feet feels nearly every day.
- If the feet sores have a long life before healing.
- If you feel stress and anxiety.
- If you are dropping weight like anything.
- If you feel swelling on feet.
- If the condition makes you suffer from fever.
- If you feel pain in joints and muscles.
- If you see a discoloration of the skin, rash or any patch likes appearance.
All these signs are an indication that the coldness of feet is not just due to the weather. It means that something is going inside your body, which it is trying to tell you through these indications.
One important thing to add here is that if you feel cold but your skin is not actually frozen; make an immediate appointment with the doctor as it could be a problem or nerves.
How would the doctor diagnose it?
The diagnosis of cold feet is nothing involving internal scans and all. For the first checkup, the doctor will do a physical test and check a sign of injury or trauma. He may press different points and ask you if you feel pain.
If everything is fine at this level and the condition still exists, next is to go for blood tests. It will tell if the body has an anemic situation or not. Also, the tests are necessary to know the risk of diabetes and hypothyroidism.
In severe conditions, the doctor will recommend you to get an electrocardiogram done. It is a test, which checks if the heart is properly functioning, or not.
As already mentioned, blood circulation is directly related to the cardiac conditions. In this regard, having an electrocardiogram report will be helpful to calculate the risk, which a patient will be having.
How to treat cold feet?
The treatment of cold feet depends upon the reason for it. If the doctor makes the right diagnosis at the right time, any general surgery will work to heal this issue.
Usually, the medicines given this condition are overall health boosters, painkillers and suggested with proper exercise or physiotherapy, in case of nerve problems.
For the cold feet as a secondary problem for example in case of anemia, thyroid, diabetes and heart problems, the medicines related to these specific diseases are given to the patients.
Final thoughts on cold feet
There are so many people, which will tell you to have this at any stage of their life. For the majority, cold feet are just a change of body’s mechanism as per weather changes. But for the rest, it can be a hidden situation of a medical issue.
The symptoms are what you need to focus. The occurrence of cold feet itself is not a problem. It becomes a problem only when the patient starts to feel secondary conditions.
Make an appointment with your doctor to know what is causing to feel this. Keep track of your health records. Make healthy food and life choices. For the precautionary measures, adopt a physically active lifestyle.