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What Causes Cold Feet?

Various individuals suffer from a common and uncomfortable condition known as cold feet. Cold temperatures cause the body to respond through a reduction of blood flow to the extremities resulting in cold hands and feet. However, there are other reasons as to why an individual may suffer from chronic cold feet:

• Those with Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Arthritis, and Cerebral Palsy often are at risk for peripheral neuropathy or impaired circulation combined with a lack of mobility that leads to cold feet.
• Peripheral vascular disease or PVD causes poor circulation in the feet and legs resulting in cold feet.
• Emotional disturbances, tension, and stress can often cause the feet to feel cold and icy. This is often medically termed Reynaud disease. The smaller vessels that carry blood throughout the feet become narrow which only allows a small amount of blood to pass through them which causes the feet to become cold.

Regardless of the cause behind an individual suffering with cold feet, they should keep in mind that like most all symptoms becomes worse during the night time hours.

Treatment Possibilities

Anyone chronically suffering from cold feet should seek the advice of a physician. Until a cause is determined for the ailment, a treatment cannot be established. Many times treatment will be determined also by the symptoms severity and may simply involve changes in lifestyle. Other more invasive treatments may require that blood vessels that are clogged may need to be opened surgically. In some more common cases, medication is all that is required to resolve the condition.

Associated Complications

As with all conditions there are complications of having chronic cold feet. These complications range in severity and should be monitored for. Medical attention from a physician should be sought in the event any of the following occur:
• Monitor for cellulitis and abscesses. These are infection that may form in pockets under the skin.
• Inadequate flow of blood to the feet may result in dry and often cracked skin that may lead to the development of infection.
• Sensation may be lost as a result of feet that remain cold. The individual loses soft and sharp touch in the sensations of their feet.
• Having cold feet often times severely disrupts the pattern of sleep causing for many to become fatigued and stressed easily.
• The most severe of all is the development of gangrene which is tissue death or necrosis. This will require surgery and if left untreated may require the foot or even both feet to be amputated in order to stop the spread of the infection.

Normally cold feet do not require any type of treatment unless it becomes a chronic problem. Prevention of heat loss to the feet is the best way to treat common cold feet. The best way to do this is to maintain warm and dry feet by wearing socks made of natural materials such as cotton and wool. One should also wear shoes made of leather and not imitation leather. Shoes with some sort of insulation may also help to keep feet even warmer, especially in the winter months. Caution should be used to prevent any sort of damage to the feet. Any damage that impairs the circulation will hinder the healing process.
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