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Old 13 February 2012, 10:28
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Consistantly cold hands/feet

No matter what quality glove or boot I wear in cold weather, my hands and feet get extremely cold, in cold weather. So much so that the area under my finger nails will turn a shade of purple.

So this is something that I've dealt with for as long as I can remember; but became a "real" issue back in the woods at the Benning School for Wayward Boys. At one point it got noticed somehow by a Drill Sergeant; and he sent me to the medics to get it looked at for a cold weather "injury". Not to mention having a bit of fun at the color my hand had changed too... :D

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when someone I was speaking with mentioned some "disorder" (God I hate that word) that his wife has, where her extremities become very cold.

I always just thought that this was just normal for me. Is there a defined "cause" of this? I guess that there is nothing that can be done about it; but if knowing that there is a defined issue, perhaps there is something that I can do to work with it.

Does this sound familiar?
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Old 13 February 2012, 10:35
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Do your feet sweat a lot?? I've Discovered that is the root of my problem. Feet are always wet
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Old 13 February 2012, 10:46
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Nope.

Nope. In fact, I notice that my hands and feet tend to dry out pretty quick. I always have water nearby, so it isn't an issue of hydration either.

I started thinking about this again today, since we're having a bit of a cold snap here in the south. 22 degrees with a nice stiff breeze. I had on a nice set of gloves that I got for Christmas, and a good pair of shoes; yet my hands and feet were still frigid.
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Old 13 February 2012, 10:48
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Thyroid? or poor circulation?

I have thyroid problems and my fingers are always cold. Doc says nothing will change for me.

Friend is a diabetic and has issues with her feet/hands because of it.

Have you talked to a doctor yet?
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Old 13 February 2012, 10:51
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You may want to read up on Raynauds Disease. My SIL had it with similar symptoms to yours.
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Old 13 February 2012, 10:55
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I haven't seen a doc just because it was just normal. And it is more of a nuisance than anything.

That said, I do have a circulatory issue in my right foot that I'm sure doesn't help matters. And it is something that is about to get surgically corrected in the near future.

I'll mention this other item as well.
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Old 13 February 2012, 13:12
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You may want to read up on Raynauds Disease. My SIL had it with similar symptoms to yours.
I have that, little blood pressure med with slight increase in winter and I am gtg. Get it checked though you can lose fingers and toes if you have a bad flare up, brought on by stress/anxiety. Mine is physical so I have eat and sleep right or it starts turning fingers blue!
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Old 13 February 2012, 14:54
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Based on the little history you gave, I agree that this sounds likely to be a circulatory disorder - very possibly Raynaud's. I had a climbing/hiking partner with Raynaud's who was a master mountaineer, and she just put up with the annoyance. (She was also a physician, and they make terrible patients!) But it can get to be a pretty serious annoyance. In extreme circumstances you can lose a digit or more to the effects of severely compromised circulation.

Some medications can help (as one poster already mentioned his BP meds do), but they are all pretty serious meds with side-effects of their own. That was a good call by a drill sergeant to have it looked at. The circulatory compromise can indeed precipitate serious cold injuries.

The majority of people with these problems do nothing about it. It can lead to changing your activities, though. Especially as we get older. A few years ago I found I was less comfortable out on long winter searches because my feet were getting painfully cold even in my plastic mountaineering boots. At first I thought it was poor circulation due to being less in-shape; but I finally concluded that this is likely a permanent change.

Definitely discuss this with your doctor. People and conditions vary, and it may be that you can do something about it. It also may be that you'll just have to be cautious in very cold conditions.
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Old 13 February 2012, 15:54
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Thanks doc.
With that little dose of reality, I will make it to point to say something about it more specifically than something in passing. The ole Drill Sgt that caught it, did so way back in 89. And it certainly hasn't gotten any better.

And now that I think about it, when I get into the hot tub at my gym, after walking through a somewhat cold locker room area; it is like blood rushes back into my hands and feet in a fury. It kind of stings. Once I'm in there for a bit, there is a very pleasant sensation in those parts especially.

Hell... I figured I just wasn't buying good gloves. :D
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Old 13 February 2012, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Medic09 View Post
Based on the little history you gave, I agree that this sounds likely to be a circulatory disorder - very possibly Raynaud's. I had a climbing/hiking partner with Raynaud's who was a master mountaineer, and she just put up with the annoyance. (She was also a physician, and they make terrible patients!) But it can get to be a pretty serious annoyance. In extreme circumstances you can lose a digit or more to the effects of severely compromised circulation.

Some medications can help (as one poster already mentioned his BP meds do), but they are all pretty serious meds with side-effects of their own. That was a good call by a drill sergeant to have it looked at. The circulatory compromise can indeed precipitate serious cold injuries.

The majority of people with these problems do nothing about it. It can lead to changing your activities, though. Especially as we get older. A few years ago I found I was less comfortable out on long winter searches because my feet were getting painfully cold even in my plastic mountaineering boots. At first I thought it was poor circulation due to being less in-shape; but I finally concluded that this is likely a permanent change.

Definitely discuss this with your doctor. People and conditions vary, and it may be that you can do something about it. It also may be that you'll just have to be cautious in very cold conditions.
I have Raynaud's. Not only do my hands feel cold, they look pasty white with some blue in areas (Red, White and Blue as a Doctor described it to me.) It was caused, so I am told, from all my time in cold environments, like a career in diving and riding a motorcycle in freezing weather for years. Caffeine usually brings it on in cold weather. Treatment -none, just keep warm or move below Interstate 10. I couldn't keep warm in Virginia, so I did the latter. I have another SEAL friend who has it real bad - like causing open sores. Ouch!
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Old 13 February 2012, 17:00
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http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ray...SECTION=causes

Cycle through the tabs for a pretty good picture of Raynaud's.

Note that stress can sometimes bring it on, as well as cold. When we are stressed, the body releases catecholamines; specifically adrenaline and noradrenaline. These are very potent vasoconstrictors. In fact, we use them in emergency and critical medicine for that very purpose.

I'll just repeat that not every circulatory compromise is Raynaud's. Discuss with your doctor to work it through.
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Old 13 February 2012, 17:05
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Thanks doc.
With that little dose of reality, I will make it to point to say something about it more specifically than something in passing. The ole Drill Sgt that caught it, did so way back in 89. And it certainly hasn't gotten any better.

And now that I think about it, when I get into the hot tub at my gym, after walking through a somewhat cold locker room area; it is like blood rushes back into my hands and feet in a fury. It kind of stings. Once I'm in there for a bit, there is a very pleasant sensation in those parts especially.

Hell... I figured I just wasn't buying good gloves. :D
As stated in the stickies, this is not the place for consults. So let me say once and knowing some better quallified people will back me up here....get to a Doctor ... a real flesh and blood Doctor and get checked out!

As other posters have mentioned, some situations can cause the loss of digits ... or worse. Consider for a moment how important one simple digit on your foot is....if you lost your Great Toe, you would literally have to go to rehab to learn to walk properly again because of the importance in balance.

Go to the Doc ASAP and do not pass go. No $200.00 and get a proper answer after giving a good history to him/her. Coming here with piecemeal info/history and expecting to find the accurate answer is asking for trouble.

We're good, but not that good that we can definitively diagnose online. ;-)

Good luck with your outcomes and keep us posted (some of us like reading about other people's miser....er....history

Cheers,
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Old 13 February 2012, 17:14
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LOL, Roger that!
Believe me, I've had a fire lit!

I didn't expect to get a kick in the ass and a pseudo online diagnosis! I thought I was just asking about an annoyance. :D

FWIW: I will be front and center with the man on Thursday.

Thanks ya'll.
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Old 13 February 2012, 18:00
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Another possibility if it only occurs in cold temperatures is some kind of cold antibody agglutination. Blood bank testing done on refrigerated blood specimens would rule that out in half an hour.
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Old 13 February 2012, 18:02
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Raynaud's is one thought; however, it could be just poor circulation. PVD comes to mind. Now if you are on SOCNET, I am going assume your fit. With fitness typically comes a well balanced diet. That being said another cause of poor circulation is poor diet. It can lead to Atherosclerosis which is a very common and major offender. It also tends to be the more common culprit. If you are experiencing these problems I want you to know how important it is to lay off the smoking and restrain yourself with caffeine. Please update us, if you don't mind to the nature of your doctor’s diagnosis.
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Old 13 February 2012, 22:43
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Ok let's keep it simple. What is your resting HR, BP at rest and body fat? Before we even start looking at diseases.

It is normal for the body to shunt to the core. In what ambient air temp do you notice this event occuring?

Is this a sudden onset of signs and or symptoms?

In reading again, you have a long history of this? What has changed?
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Old 13 February 2012, 22:57
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My diet is pretty damn clean. I do not drink sodas, I actually get the recommended fruits and vegetables in a day. My worst vice however are two rather large cups of coffee in the morning. And I'm in pretty decent shape for a 41 year old, and that is actually getting even better.

We've been going to a wellness center on a regular basis, and have a resting heart rate in the low 70's, BP is "normal". Body fat at the moment is 15%, according to the test I just had done at the wellness center.

The symptoms are something I've been dealing with for as long as I can remember. I started the thread out of curiosity because I got to thinking about the fact that my hands were cold, yet again, wearing a rather nice pair of gloves that I was given for Christmas.

My hands and feet can start getting cold when the temp is in the low 60's.

I think... that this has gotten worse within the past couple of years, now that I really think on it. I DO have a circulation issue in my right leg and ankle that requires a procedure to be done. If i stay on my feet for a long time, my right ankle disappears. And there is, and has for some time, been spotting at my right ankle.
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Old 13 February 2012, 23:00
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Ok that tells me a lot. It tells me we are on the net and it is beyond me.

Go see your NP, PA, MD, DO.
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Old 14 February 2012, 07:19
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Ok that tells me a lot. It tells me we are on the net and it is beyond me.

Go see your NP, PA, MD, DO.
Hey, reckon we could get $$ for this advice?
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Old 14 February 2012, 08:34
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I've always had that problem...definitely doesn't help being on a bike in the weather we've been having lately...but yeah...I just always assumed it was normal. I have no known circulatory problems, but for as long as I can remember, my hands and feet have gotten extremely cold really easily...no matter how good the gloves and/or boots I wear.
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