It's common to have cold hands even when you're not in a cold environment. Usually, having cold hands is just one of the ways the body tries to control its temperature and shouldn't be cause for concern.
However, persistently cold hands — particularly with skin color changes — could be a warning sign of nerve damage, blood flow problems, or tissue damage in the hands or fingers. For example, if you are outside in extreme cold weather and you have cold hands, skin color changes could be a warning sign of frostbite.
Signs and symptoms to watch for when you have cold hands include:
- Cold feet or toes
- Changes to the color of the skin on the hands
- Numbness or tingling
- Open sores or blisters
- Tightened or hardened skin
Cold hands may be caused by simply being in a cold room or other chilly environment. Cold hands are often a sign that your body is trying to maintain its regular body temperature.
Always having cold hands, however, could mean there's a problem with your blood flow or the blood vessels in your hands.
Make an appointment to see your health care provider if you're concerned about persistently cold hands. Your provider can check if your cold hands are caused by a problem with your blood flow or nerves. Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause of your cold hands. Depending on your condition, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes to help improve symptoms.
June 23, 2022
- Raynaud's. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/raynauds. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Buerger disease. Genetics and Rare Diseases Information Center. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/5969/buerger-disease. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Wallace DJ, et al. Overview of the clinical manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/anemia. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Peripheral neuropathy. American Diabetes Association. https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/complications/neuropathy/peripheral-neuropathy. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.
- Varga J. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 21, 2021.