Do you find yourself being teased for your “cold-bloodedness” because of your perpetually cold hands and feet? This condition, called “vaso-constriction” occurs more often in women than in men. But is this condition completely harmless? Or, is it an alarming wake-up call that you absolutely must heed? To understand this, let us explore the underlying reasons for cold hands and feet.
Sounds obvious? But this is, in fact, the number one reason. It is our blood vessels that are responsible for transporting oxygen-rich blood all over our body. It is also the intelligence of these blood vessels, which causes them to constrict (or temporarily shrink) when the climate gets cold.
The hands and feet are the first to feel this, as the blood flow to these areas are hit, and they turn colder than the rest of the body. This is okay as long as this is a temporary condition; it is even outright “normal,” as it is reflective of the defense mechanism adapted by our body and blood vessels, to protect our internal organs.
This is exactly how we stay warm in our core during cold or even sub-zero temperatures outside. The problem arises when this condition continues with no respite (either due to continued colder climates, or when it is caused by the over-sensitivity of your body to cold weather). Then this could lead to serious ailments like frostbite or even arthritis.
High Levels of Estrogen
The estrogen hormone has a significant role in maintaining body temperature. Higher your estrogen, the more sensitive you are to the cold. In youth, the estrogen hormone is higher in women than in men – and there lies your clue to why women are more susceptible to cold hands and feet.
With age, the estrogen levels also go up in men. Therefore, elderly men are as vulnerable to this condition as women. In all these cases, cold hands and feet are to be expected, as the blood vessels shrink to keep the core warm. However, if you have fluctuating estrogen levels (potentially triggered by an inconsistent menstrual cycle), you are likely to be abnormally sensitive to colder temperatures. In this case, cover your bases by a quick visit to your doctor to ensure that this is not indicative of more serious disorders.