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It is that time of the year when all we want to do is snuggle Into our cozy blanket and keep warm. In winter, our body needs to feel warm to fight the cold. You can pile on sweaters, coats, jackets and boots, but often most of us get stuck with cold feet! And guess what, this condition can’t always be resolved with a pair of socks, no matter how thick and fluffy they are. Can you relate to it? Well, if you are nodding to all of these things, you’re not alone in suffering the agony of cold feet in winter.
But have you ever wondered why your feet are always cold? Well, the simple reason is lack of warmth. Cold feet affect everyone in winter because of extreme cold weather. On a chilly day, the body reacts to the drop in temperature by constricting the blood vessels in your extremities. Though cold feet are not a condition to be worried about, if your feet are persistently cold, it could indicate more serious health conditions.
Dr Pritam Moon, consultant physician, Wockhardt Hospital Mira Road, Mumbai tells HealthShots that cold feet can be caused by many reasons, but among the most common causes include your body’s reaction to temperature, diseases such as diabetes, anaemia, peripheral artery disease, chronic fatigue syndrome or even hypothyroidism.
This is one of the most common causes of cold feet during winter. As the temperature drops, one’s body works to keep the core warm. Thus, the blood vessels constrict to limit circulation to the core part of your body, and the feet can become cold.
It happens when one has too few normal red blood cells present in the body. This can be due to iron deficiency, vitamin B12, or even chronic kidney disease. So, many people tend to experience cold feet.
Have diabetes? Then you need to be cautious as you can have circulation problems, especially in feet or hands. Having abnormal blood sugar levels can cause narrowing of the arteries and a reduced blood supply to the tissues, leading to cold feet.
Those having diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage, can also have cold feet.
The underactive thyroid gland, produces a low level of thyroid hormone that negatively impacts the metabolism. Thus, the circulation, heartbeat, and body temperature also get affected leading to cold feet.
Cold hands and feet — especially in older people — also can be caused by PAD, which occurs when arteries become narrowed or blocked as the plaque gradually forms inside the artery walls.
If cold feet are accompanied by additional symptoms like changes in skin color, numbness or tingling sensations, open sores or blisters, and tightened or hardened skin, seek medical attention immediately.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make your feet warmer during the winter. Follow these tips to avoid cold feet suggested by Dr Moon:
Do not sit in one place for a long time. Instead, stay physically active. This will help in proper circulation throughout the body.
You can do so after consulting the doctor. Socks can keep the feet warm.
Soak the feet in warm water. Doing so can improve circulation throughout the body.
One can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle. Try to place it on the feet just before hitting the sack, and relax! Doing so can help relieve muscle soreness too.
See a doctor if the condition is persistent and you have other symptoms like fever, chest pain, fainting, blisters etc.