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Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Diseases / Overview of Cold Hands: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention Tips

Overview of Cold Hands: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention Tips

Team AckoJun 20, 2023

Cold Hands (CH), also known as Cold Hands syndrome, is a condition characterised by persistent coldness and discomfort in the hands. It can be a distressing and bothersome issue for many individuals, affecting their daily activities and overall quality of life. In this article, we will explore the definition, symptoms, causes, treatment options, and prevention tips for Cold Hands. So, let's dive in and gain a better understanding of this condition.

Cold Hands



What is the meaning of Cold Hands? 

Cold Hands refer to a medical condition where an individual experiences an unusually cold sensation in their hands, which may persist for an extended period. The coldness may be accompanied by a feeling of numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation in the hands. While it is normal for hands to become cold in cold weather or due to temporary exposure to cold temperatures, individuals with CH experience persistent coldness even in normal conditions.

Symptoms of Cold Hands

Individuals with Cold Hands may experience various symptoms, which can vary in severity. Some common symptoms include the following.

  • Cold sensation: The hands feel significantly colder than the rest of the body or compared to others.

  • Numbness: A loss of sensation or reduced sensitivity in the hands.

  • Tingling sensation: A prickling or tingling feeling in the hands.

  • Discolouration: The hands may appear pale, bluish, or mottled due to poor blood circulation.

  • Pain or discomfort: Some individuals may experience pain, aching, or discomfort in the hands.

  • Reduced dexterity: CH can affect fine motor skills and make it challenging to perform tasks that require precise hand movements.

Causes of Cold Hands

Here are some common causes of Cold Hands.

  • Poor blood circulation: Inadequate blood flow to the hands is a primary cause of CH. Conditions such as Raynaud's disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and vasoconstriction can restrict blood flow to the hands, resulting in coldness and other associated symptoms.

  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland can lead to CH as it affects overall metabolism and blood circulation.

  • Anaemia: A low red blood cell count or insufficient haemoglobin levels can impact blood circulation, leading to CH.

  • Nerve damage: Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve entrapment can disrupt proper nerve function, causing CH.

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as beta-blockers, can cause vasoconstriction and lead to CH as a side effect.

  • Autoimmune disorders: Conditions like lupus and scleroderma can affect blood vessels and lead to poor circulation in the hands, resulting in coldness.

Treatment for Cold Hands

The treatment for Cold Hands aims to improve blood circulation and provide relief from the associated symptoms. The approach may vary depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common treatment options.

  • Lifestyle modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate CH. It is advisable to keep the hands warm by wearing gloves or using hand warmers in cold weather. Regular exercise, especially activities that promote cardiovascular health, can improve blood circulation. Avoiding smoking and managing stress levels are also beneficial.

  • Medications: In some cases, healthcare professionals may prescribe medications to improve blood circulation or address underlying conditions contributing to CH. These may include vasodilators, calcium channel blockers, or medications to regulate thyroid function.

  • Therapy: Physical therapy or occupational therapy can help improve hand strength and dexterity, enabling individuals to better manage CH.

  • Surgical intervention: In severe cases or when other treatment options fail to provide relief, surgical procedures like sympathectomy or nerve decompression may be considered. These interventions aim to improve blood flow and alleviate symptoms.

Prevention tips for Cold Hands

Preventing Cold Hands involves adopting certain habits and precautions to maintain optimal hand temperature and blood circulation. Here are some useful prevention tips.

  • Dress appropriately: Wear warm clothing, including gloves or mittens, during cold weather to protect your hands from the cold.

  • Keep moving: Regularly move your hands and fingers to promote blood circulation.

  • Manage stress: Stress can contribute to vasoconstriction. Engage in stress-reducing activities such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga.

  • Stay active: Regular physical exercise promotes overall cardiovascular health and can help improve blood circulation.

  • Avoid smoking: Smoking damages blood vessels and impairs circulation. Quitting smoking can have a positive impact on hand circulation.

  • Stay warm: When indoors, ensure the temperature is comfortable, and consider using hand warmers or heated blankets if necessary.

What is the prognosis of Cold Hands?

The prognosis for Cold Hands largely depends on the underlying cause and the effectiveness of the treatment. In many cases, with proper management and lifestyle modifications, individuals can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life. However, for some individuals with chronic conditions or severe cases, complete resolution of CH may not be achievable.

It is important to note that CH can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health condition that may require ongoing medical attention. Therefore, seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment is crucial for managing the condition effectively and improving the prognosis.

Cold Hands: What’s normal and what’s not?

When it comes to CH, it's important to understand what is considered normal and what may indicate an underlying issue. Here's a breakdown of what to expect:


  • Coldness in cold weather: It's normal for your hands to feel cold when exposed to chilly temperatures. Your body's natural response is to reduce blood flow to the extremities to preserve heat in the core.

  • Temporary coldness: Brief exposure to cold conditions, such as holding a cold object or being in an air-conditioned room, can cause temporary CH. Once you warm up or remove the cold stimulus, your hands should return to a normal temperature.

Not normal

  • Persistent coldness: If your hands constantly feel excessively cold, even in normal temperatures or when others around you are comfortable, it may indicate an underlying issue.

  • Numbness or tingling: CH accompanied by numbness or tingling sensations could be a sign of nerve-related problems or poor blood circulation.

  • Colour changes: If your hands appear pale, bluish, or mottled, it may suggest insufficient blood flow or a condition like Raynaud's disease.

  • Pain or discomfort: Cold Hands that are accompanied by pain, aching, or discomfort should be evaluated by a healthcare professional, as it could indicate an underlying condition.

  • Impaired function: Cold Hands that affect your ability to perform daily tasks or interfere with fine motor skills should be addressed, as they may indicate an issue that requires attention.

When to see a doctor for Cold Hands?

Here are some indications that you should consult a healthcare professional for Cold Hands. 

  • Persistent and unexplained CH: If your hands constantly feel excessively cold, even in warm environments, or if the coldness persists for an extended period without an apparent cause, it's advisable to seek medical advice.

  • Severe pain or discomfort: If you experience intense pain, significant discomfort, or if the CH interferes with your daily activities or quality of life, it's important to consult a doctor to identify the underlying cause and explore appropriate treatment options.

  • Changes in colour or texture: If your hands exhibit unusual colour changes, such as turning pale, bluish, or mottled, or if there are accompanying skin texture changes, it could indicate a circulation problem or an underlying condition that requires medical attention.

  • Numbness or tingling sensations: If you frequently experience numbness or tingling in your hands along with coldness, it may be a sign of nerve-related issues or poor blood circulation, necessitating a professional evaluation.

  • Impaired hand function: If your Cold Hands affect your ability to perform everyday tasks or if you notice a decline in hand strength or dexterity, it's advisable to see a healthcare professional to assess the cause and determine appropriate interventions.

Concerning associated symptoms: If your Cold Hands are accompanied by additional concerning symptoms such as joint stiffness, swelling, skin ulceration, or other systemic symptoms, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly to rule out underlying medical conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to Cold Hands.


Can Cold Hands be a sign of an underlying health condition?

Yes, Cold Hands can be a symptom of underlying health conditions such as Raynaud's disease, hypothyroidism, or peripheral artery disease (PAD). If you consistently experience CH, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation.

Are there any natural remedies for Cold Hands?

While natural remedies may not provide a complete cure, some individuals find relief from CH through measures like wearing warm gloves, using hand warmers, practising relaxation techniques, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise.

Can stress worsen Cold Hands?

Yes, stress can contribute to vasoconstriction and exacerbate CH. Managing stress levels through relaxation techniques, exercise, and adopting stress-reducing strategies can help alleviate symptoms.

Can Cold Hands affect daily activities?

Yes, CH can affect daily activities, especially those that require fine motor skills or prolonged use of the hands. Tasks like writing, typing, or playing musical instruments may become more challenging due to reduced dexterity and discomfort.

Can wearing gloves help prevent Cold Hands?

Yes, wearing gloves can provide insulation and help maintain hand warmth in cold weather or environments. It is recommended to choose gloves that are well-insulated and cover the hands adequately.

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