Cold Feet and Toes

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Cold sensations to the feet can come from poor circulation, disorders of the nervous system, cold exposure injuries,and decreased metabolism from a low thyroid condition (hypothyroidism). Other diseases that can cause cold feet symptoms include diabetes, arteriosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud's phenomenon, neuropathy, and frostbite.

In people with diabetes mellitus, chronic abnormally elevated blood and urine sugar, causes narrowing of arteries and capillaries that impair blood supply to tissues leading to cold feet symptoms. Arteriosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease result from chronic elevation of blood cholesterol levels that leads to blood vessel narrowing. Raynaud's phenomenon features narrowing of tiny blood vessels as a reaction to nerve sensitivity to cold exposure, which causes cold feet symptoms. Frostbite causes permanent damage to blood vessels that are injured from freezing of tissues.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

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REFERENCE:

Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.

Causes of Cold Feet
    • Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes...learn more »
      In This Article
      Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) Article
      • Diabetes facts
      • What is diabetes?
      • What is the impact of diabetes?
      • What causes diabetes?
      • What are the different types of diabetes?
      • Type 1 diabetes
      • Type 2 diabetes
      • Other types of diabetes
      • What are diabetes symptoms?
      • How is diabetes diagnosed?
      • Why is blood sugar checked at home?
      • What are the acute complications of diabetes?
      • What are the chronic complications of diabetes?
      • What can be done to slow diabetes complications?
    • Frostbite (Cold Weather-Related Injuries) There are two categories to cold weather-related injuries. 1) no freezing of body tissue (trench foot and chilblains), and 2)...learn more »
      In This Article
      Frostbite (Cold Weather-Related Injuries) Article
      • Frostbite and Cold Weather-Related Injuries Facts
      • Introduction to frostbite and cold weather-related injuries
      • What type of injuries can be caused by cold weather?
      • Cold weather-related injuries without tissue freezing
      • Chilblains
      • Trench foot
      • Frostnip
      • Cold weather-related injuries with tissue freezing
      • Frostbite
      • What are the signs and symptoms of frostbite?
      • What does frostbite look like (frostbite pictures)?
      • How should frostbite and other cold weather-related injuries be treated?
      • What is the recovery time for a frostbite injury?
      • When should a person seek medical care for a cold weather-related injury?
      • Who is most likely to get a cold weather-related injury and what can be done to prevent it?
    • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is any state in which thyroid hormone production is below normal. Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone...learn more »
      In This Article
      Hypothyroidism Article
      • Hypothyroidism facts
      • What is hypothyroidism?
      • What are thyroid hormones?
      • Thyroid hormone regulation- the chain of command
      • What causes hypothyroidism?
      • What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
      • How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
      • How is hypothyroidism treated?
      • What is subclinical hypothyroidism?
      • What's best for you?
    • Peripheral Vascular Disease Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and...learn more »
      In This Article
      Peripheral Vascular Disease Article
      • Peripheral vascular disease facts
      • What is peripheral vascular disease?
      • What is atherosclerosis?
      • How does atherosclerosis cause disease?
      • What are potential complications of peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the other causes of peripheral vascular diseases?
      • Who is at risk for peripheral artery disease?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of peripheral artery disease?
      • How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed?
      • What are the treatments for peripheral artery disease?
      • Lifestyle changes
      • Supervised exercise
      • Medications
      • Angioplasty
      • Surgery
    • Raynaud's Phenomenon Raynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to...learn more »
      In This Article
      Raynaud's Phenomenon Article
      • Raynaud's phenomenon facts
      • What is Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What causes Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What conditions have been associated with Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What are Raynaud's phenomenon symptoms and signs?
      • How is Raynaud's phenomenon diagnosed?
      • What is the treatment for Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • What is the prognosis (outlook) for Raynaud's phenomenon?
      • Can Raynaud's phenomenon by prevented?
Other Causes of Cold Feet
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