What causes cold fingers?

To protect against frost, keeping your body warm is a priority. At cold temperatures, the body instinctively takes warm blood from its organs and directs it to the nucleus, where it can protect the heart, lungs and other organs.

Although it is normal for the fingers to feel cold in cold weather, some people are more prone to frostbite than others. If your fingers get cold when your body temperature normalizes, there is another reason for it. Cold fingers can be a sign of several problems, including Raynaud’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, anemia, arterial disease, or even an autoimmune disease.

What causes cold fingers?

Raynaud’s syndrome

Raynaud’s syndrome is a condition that causes the fingers to become cold and numb when exposed to cold or high stress. If you have this syndrome, you will have very cold attacks and numb fingers.

This complication occurs because the small blood vessels in the skin spasm. During a Raynaud’s attack, the arteries narrow, preventing proper blood circulation. Fingers often change color from white to blue and then to red. With the onset of the attack and the normalization of blood flow in the hands, it becomes tingling, throbbing, or swollen.

Your doctor will diagnose this syndrome based on your medical history and symptoms, and may even order a blood test to follow up on other possible causes of the symptoms, such as an autoimmune disorder. Raynaud’s is not often disabling and most people do not need any treatment, but treatment options are available.

Doctors routinely prescribe medications to dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation. These include calcium channel blockers, alpha blockers, and vasodilators.


In hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism, this gland does not produce enough hormone. It is most common in women over the age of 60, but can affect anyone. Hypothyroidism occurs gradually and its symptoms rarely appear in the early stages.

Over time, the disease can cause complications such as heart disease, joint pain, obesity and infertility. An unusual feeling of coldness in the fingers may be related to an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism does not make your fingers cold, but it does increase your sensitivity to the cold, meaning you feel too cold.

If you constantly feel more cold than other people with other symptoms, you should have a blood test. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Weight Gain
Puffy face
skin dryness
Muscle weakness, pain, tenderness and stiffness
High cholesterol levels
Hair loss or thinning

Pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint

Your doctor will diagnose hypothyroidism with a simple blood test. If you are a woman over 60, your doctor will probably order a hypothyroidism test every year. Treatment for hypothyroidism involves a daily dose of synthetic thyroid hormone, which is usually safe and effective.

Cold temperature

Not surprisingly, cold temperatures make your fingers cold, but what are the risks of a more serious problem? When naked skin is exposed to severe cold, it can freeze for a few minutes. Frostbite, frostbite of the skin and underlying tissues is a medical emergency with serious complications.

Once in the first stage, it can cause permanent damage to the skin, tissues, muscles and bones. If you have poor blood circulation in your hands due to Raynaud’s disease or other disease, your risk of frostbite increases.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 as an essential vitamin is found naturally in many foods including eggs, fish, meat, poultry and dairy products. This vitamin is necessary for proper red blood cell formation and nerve function. Many people, especially vegetarians and vegans, do not get enough of this vitamin.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause neurological symptoms such as cold, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Other symptoms of this vitamin deficiency include:
Difficulty balancing
Mouth pain
Vitamin B12 deficiency is determined by a blood test. The most common treatment is vitamin B12 injections because many people have difficulty absorbing this vitamin through the gastrointestinal tract, but high doses of oral supplements may also be effective.


In anemia, red blood cells are lower than normal, and also occur when red blood cells lack a vital iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

If the body does not have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen-rich blood to your hands, it can lead to cold fingers, fatigue and weakness, and most cases of iron deficiency anemia. If you suspect anemia, you should have a blood test.

If blood activity indicates low iron levels, your doctor may recommend dietary changes. Having an iron-rich diet and taking supplements is often enough to relieve symptoms.


Lupus causes inflammation as a chronic autoimmune disease. Lupus, like other autoimmune disorders, occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs. Lupus causes inflammation throughout the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, and blood cells.

The symptoms of lupus can vary greatly depending on the type of inflammation in the body. Lupus can cause Raynaud’s syndrome, which causes your fingers to become cold and numb when exposed to cold weather or feeling stressed. Other symptoms include:
Facial rash
Joint pain

Skin lesions

Lupus is obviously difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases, so your doctor should try and evaluate other conditions before diagnosing lupus. There is no cure for lupus, but its symptoms can be controlled with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs and other medications.


Scleroderma causes the skin to tighten. This affects the connective tissue inside the body and makes it hard or thick, which also causes swelling and pain in the joints and muscles. Most people with scleroderma also develop Raynaud’s syndrome, which causes the fingers to become cold. People with scleroderma also develop thick, hard skin and red spots on the fingers.

A doctor may also use a skin biopsy to diagnose scleroderma. There is no cure for the disease, but some of the symptoms and progression of the disease can be controlled with medication.

Arterial diseases

Various diseases that affect the arteries can reduce blood flow to the hands and cause the fingers to become cold. This is due to plaque buildup or inflammation in the blood vessels.

Any obstruction in the blood vessels prevents normal blood circulation. Another arterial problem is primary pulmonary hypertension, which affects the pulmonary arteries and leads to Raynaud’s syndrome, especially in people with other types of autoimmune diseases.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve between the arm and the palm of the hand in the wrist is compressed. The median nerve makes the palms of the hands and fingers feel. It causes painful symptoms when pressed by a rigid duct known as the carpal tunnel. CTS symptoms appear slowly and gradually get worse.

Early symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. Many people with CTS also experience Raynaud’s syndrome and increased sensitivity to the cold. Symptoms can usually be relieved with an anti-inflammatory wrist splint. Exercise is also helpful and surgery is recommended in severe cases.


Smoking is harmful to the whole body, including blood circulation. Smoking narrows the blood vessels that cause the fingers to freeze, and can also lead to a rare condition called burger or obstructive thromboangiitis, which inflames the blood vessels.

What is the vision?

Cold fingers are a part of life, especially for those who live in cold environments. Talk to your doctor about cold hands, especially if you have symptoms. Many underlying conditions of cold fingers can be controlled with treatment and lifestyle changes.

Translator: Elahe Zarei

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