Today, many people are bothered by the problem of cold feet. It can be described as a chilling sensation felt in the feet. When your body is exposed to a low temperature, the arteries narrow down, which in turn, reduces the blood flow to the far off areas; like the feet. This poor circulation of blood leads to cold feet. It is accompanied by various other symptoms like: cramps in the calves, burning sensation and tenderness in the feet, numbness of feet, etc. People of any age group can experience these symptoms, but elderly people, or, those who are into the habit of smoking, are more prone to it. The unique characteristics of these symptoms are that they worsen during the night.
Possible Causes of Cold Feet
There are several reasons due to which your feet may feel cold. It may occur because of cold atmospheric conditions, or, it could be a symptom of a disease. The prevalent causes are as follows.
Frostbite: This condition causes cold feet and hands all of a sudden; if these areas are exposed to freezing temperatures. Frostbite mainly affects the fingers and toes. The extreme low temperature causes damage to the surface of the skin which leads to frozen skin. As a result, the supply of blood to the affected part decreases. In general, frostbite is not very harmful as its effect is limited to the external part of the skin only. However, when there is a prolonged exposure to cold, the skin turns purple or black and blisters appear on it.
Raynaud's Phenomenon: The disease affects the small blood vessels present under the skin. It results in narrowing down of these arteries and adequate amount of blood cannot be supplied to the skin tissues for some time. It can be identified with symptoms like skin discoloration; and the toes first become white, and then blue in color. Once the spasm in the arteries subsides, the blood vessels open up and the toes get back to their normal color. The spasm is mainly triggered by cold temperatures or excessive mental stress.
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): It is a medical term used to describe blood circulation problem. This disease affects the blood vessels, particularly those which are located near the heart or brain; and the blood flow to the limbs gets disrupted. Those who are suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetes, often experience cold feet because of this reason.
Other Causes: Nerve damage in the feet can be responsible for cold and numb feet. This problem is commonly faced by diabetic patients where uncontrolled blood sugar causes the neurological damage. Anxiety disorder often forces the heart to beat at a faster rate and less amount of blood is supplied to the feet, leading to a cold sensation. Iron deficiency anemia causes cold feet; particularly in women.
Treatment for Cold Feet
In most cases, the causes of this condition, are not something to be worried about. The treatment mainly involves the use of suitable medicines for the purpose of treating the underlying health condition. Frostbite in the feet should be given proper care. Otherwise, it can cause irreversible damage to the affected feet. The feet have to be kept at rest, as movements can aggravate the problem. Wearing warm clothing in order to trap the body heat is very important to keep the chilling sensation under control. In certain cases, doctors advise the patients to wear socks even in bed during winters. It is equally important that the patients keep their feet dry. Diabetic patients should try to control their blood glucose levels. Anemic patients have to increase the intake of iron and vitamin C. Most of the time, lifestyle changes help a lot to bring about considerable improvement in the condition. If badly blocked arteries are responsible for cold feet, then surgery is done to remove the blockage.
Certain measures can be taken to prevent cold feet and the accompanied symptoms. Eat nutritious foods and avoid caffeine. If you are a smoker, then you should quit smoking because it tends to constrict the blood vessels. Exercise is very important as it improves blood circulation, strengthens the muscles, and makes them flexible. At the same time, an active lifestyle helps us relieve stress, which is essential to maintain proper blood circulation.