I’ve been asked about (and have experienced) cold hands and feet on occasion. It’s not just a way of life, as it can be for some, but a true symptom of an underlying cause. External environment aside, the body isn’t meant to have cold hands or feet and stress is its most important factor. No, not running-from-a-lion stress (although that can be included), but dietary, physical, and mental (and thus all resulting in hormonal) stress can very easily be the cause.
You can live without an arm or a leg but you can’t live without a liver! (Paul Chek)
Paul is right. In a state of stress (or shock) the body will pull blood from the non-important areas of the body to bring it back into center where all of the vital organs reside. These vitals keep the body ticking; not-so-much the fingers, feet, or knee caps. The body knows exactly what it is doing and, as individuals, we must be responsible to keep an eye and ear out to understand, interpret and then react accordingly to what’s going on.
The temperature of [the] fingers, toes, and nose helps to interpret the balance between stress and thyroid; [the] fingers should be less cold as [the] metabolic rate comes up. In extreme hypothyroidism, the hands and feet can be very cold while the oral temperature looks o.k.; then as the metabolic rate increases, the difference between fingers and mouth decreases. (Ray Peat)
Thanks, Ray. He hit the nail even more on the head by correlating stress and thyroid function – metabolic rate, homeostasis, the epicenter of all-things-regulating-healthy-bodily-functions. Peat looks at the heart rate and body temperature as instruments in determining thyroid (metabolic) health.
It’s not rocket science to notice cold hands and feet, meaning you don’t need a thermometer to tell ya what you can experience through awareness. Why does it happen? Well, I can go on about diet, physical, and mental stressors, but I think I’ll be barking about what you intuitively already know. Instead, here are a few questions to get you pointed in a perspective direction…
- What time of day do you experience cold hands and feet? Upon waking, before/after lunch, before/after dinner, before/after exercise, before/after bed.
- What is your heart rate at the same times mentioned above?
- Do you notice cold hands and feet or an increased/decreased heart rate when consuming certain foods/drinks, in between meals (note the duration), doing certain activities (exercise, showering, sleeping, work, school, sex), or pertaining to certain sleeping patterns (sleeping “on time” or enough)?
This perspective approach can be taken with ANYTHING, not just cold hands and feet. Lifestyle Journals are the new black.