What are cold hands?

It is normal for your hands to feel cold in cold or freezing weather because warm blood is pumped out from your heart, and your hands are relatively far from your heart.

Persistent cold hands or a feeling of cold hands when the temperature is not cold might be a sign of a circulatory disorder, blood vessel damage due to frostbite, or another disease, disorder or condition that affects your arteries, veins, capillaries, or your metabolism. It is important when you have persistently cold hands that you pay close attention to all the symptoms that you are feeling so that you and your licensed medical professional can pinpoint and treat its underlying cause.

Certain underlying causes of cold hands can lead to life-threatening complications when undetected and untreated. Seek prompt medical care if your symptoms are persistent, recur, or cause you concern. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have been exposed to cold temperatures and may have hypothermia or frostbite, or if you have numbness and pale, grey or bluish coloring of the fingers, toes, nose, lips or earlobes.


What other symptoms might occur with cold hands?

Cold hands can occur with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that may occur with cold hands include:


What causes cold hands?

Cold hands are caused by a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that include:

  • Anemia (decreased number of red blood cells)
  • Atherosclerosis
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation