Your blood vessels lose elasticity. When your blood vessels aren’t as flexible, your circulation decreases. When your blood doesn’t circulate normally, it’s harder for your body to retain heat. This can cause your hands and feet to feel cold.
Usually, having cold hands is just one of the ways your body tries to regulate its temperature and shouldn’t be cause for concern. However, persistently cold hands — particularly with skin color changes — could be a warning sign of nerve damage, blood flow problems, or tissue damage in the hands or fingers.
Some symptoms occur when the body tries to increase blood pressure that is low. For example, when arterioles constrict, blood flow to the skin, feet, and hands decreases. These areas may become cold and turn blue.
People with heart failure may find that they often feel cold in their arms, hands, feet, and legs (the extremities). This happens because the body is circulating most of the available blood to the brain and other vital organs to compensate for the failing heart’s inability to pump enough blood to the entire body.
Aging causes a natural decrease in metabolic rate, which means seniors’ bodies might be unable to generate enough heat to maintain a “normal” temperature of 98.6 degrees. Slower circulation can make it difficult to retain heat throughout the body. This could be due to aging or medication side effects.
Raynaud’s disease causes smaller arteries that supply blood flow to the skin to narrow in response to cold or stress. The affected body parts, usually fingers and toes, might turn white or blue and feel cold and numb until circulation improves, usually when you get warm.
Stress and anxiety can also cause cold fingers and hands. Epinephrine surges are common when someone is experiencing a great deal of stress or anxiety. This hormone triggers a chain of reactions that causes the blood vessels in the hands and fingers to constrict and decreases blood flow to the fingers.
Cold hands may be caused by simply being in a cold room or other chilly environment. Cold hands are often a sign that your body is trying to maintain its normal body temperature. Always having cold hands, however, could mean there’s a problem with your blood flow or the blood vessels in your hands.
How are cold hands treated?
When an elderly adult’s blood is not properly circulating, the temperature of their extremities tends to fluctuate. The blood vessels in those areas constrict in efforts to retain body heat, which results in cold hands and feet.
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