Cold feet? This is why your feet are always freezing

Having cold feet—literally—is normal from time to time. Find out a few reasons why your feet may be cold as ice.

Cold feet are one of the body's normal reactions to colder temperatures. When the body enters a colder area, the blood vessels in the extremities, such as the hands and feet, constrict. This reduces blood flow to these areas, which also reduces the amount of heat the body loses.

The extremities are the parts of the body the furthest away from vital organs, so reducing blood flow to the extremities also helps to maintain heat and blood flow to the most important parts of the body, like your heart, for example.

The causes of cold feet can be very varied, from winter temperatures to circulatory and nervous disorders. Read on to find out the most common reasons.

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High stress or anxiety

Being in a state of high stress or anxiety can cause cold feet. One of the body's natural responses to stress or nervousness is to pump adrenaline into the bloodstream.

As adrenaline circulates, it causes blood vessels in the periphery to constrict, which decreases blood flow to the outermost areas of the body. This response reserves energy and prepares for any bodily damage that may occur as a result of the high-stress situation.

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Circulation problems

Circulation problems are a very common cause of cold feet. A person with poor circulation often has difficulty getting enough warm blood to their extremities and may complain of frequent cold hands and feet.

Poor circulation can have several causes. Leading a sedentary lifestyle or sitting at a desk all day can reduce circulation to the legs and cause cold feet.

Smoking tobacco products can also make it harder for blood to reach all areas of the body, so people who smoke may be more likely to complain of cold feet.

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Anaemia

Anaemia is a condition that occurs when a person has too few normal red blood cells in their body. This can be due to many factors, such as iron, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, or chronic kidney disease.

Moderate or severe cases of anaemia can cause cold feet. Anaemia usually responds well to dietary changes and supplements. It is best to have anaemia diagnosed by a doctor and follow his or her treatment recommendations.

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Diabetes

People with diabetes may be at risk for circulation problems, such as cold feet or hands.

Frequent high blood sugar levels can lead to narrowing of the arteries and reduced blood supply to the tissues, which can cause cold feet.

In some people, diabetes can lead to diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a form of nerve damage. Diabetic nerve damage typically occurs in people who have uncontrolled high blood sugar for long periods of time.

Remedies

Working directly with a doctor to diagnose any underlying cause of cold feet is the best way to prevent the symptom, as far as possible.

However, many home remedies can help warm the feet and keep the person comfortable:

Keep moving

Although it may seem simple, getting up and moving can be one of the easiest ways to warm the body and help blood flow to and from the feet.

People who have cold feet due to their office work can benefit from periodically getting up and walking around the office. Circulating the blood through cardiovascular activities, such as running or even jumping jacks, can be enough to keep feet warm throughout the day.

Socks and slippers

Warm, well-insulated socks are important for people with cold feet. Indoors, it can also be useful to wear well-insulated slippers, especially if the person does not have carpeted or heated floors.

Keeping feet warm is a good way to help them stay warm and avoid any additional heat loss.

Foot baths

One of the quickest ways to soothe cold feet is to soak them in a warm foot bath.

Filling a tub or basin with hot water and soaking the feet for 10 to 15 minutes can be enough to keep cool blood circulating through the feet throughout the day. This can be especially helpful just before bedtime, as it can also relieve tension and relax the muscles.

If the coldness in the extremities still persists, it is best to see a specialist who will look at your case.

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