Did you ever wonder where the expression “getting cold feet” comes from? “Cold feet” as an expression, connotes loss of courage, such as when a performer gets cold feet right before he goes on stage to thousands of waiting fans (uh-oh); or a bride gets cold feet before her wedding day (double uh-oh)...
No matter where the phrase comes from, and no matter the underlying cause, cold feet can be a nuisance. In some cases, it’s a sign that something more serious is going on.
Poor circulation – It’s one of the main reasons persons suffer from cold feet. This occurs due to improper blood flow in the feet, to keep them warm, a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle such as an office job. The cause of blood clots, poor circulation can also lead to other health issues.
An underactive thyroid — More common in women than in men, hypothyroidism can cause cold feet and hands, fatigue, hair loss and weight gain, among other symptoms. If you do have a thyroid issue and are taking medication for it, but still experiencing cold hands and feet, you could have Raynaud’s syndrome. Raynaud’s syndrome is characterised by a loss of blood flow to the hands and feet caused by spasms in the blood vessels.
Peripheral neuropathy — A major contributory factor, one may experience a cold feeling in the hands and feet, without the hands or feet actually being cold to the touch. Other symptoms can include numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the extremities. Though this can be annoying in and of itself, peripheral neuropathy is a sign of underlying nerve damage, caused by diseases such as diabetes, exposure to toxins and infections.
Other contributory factors
• Alcohol or caffeine both increase blood flow to the skin, so while you might feel warmer, your body is losing heat.
• Once buoyant blood supply becomes limp, it no longer flows through our skin with a full dynamic force; the consequence is cold extremities.
• The feet contain a diffused micro network of tiny capillaries which easily become damaged or blocked.
• Some women suffer from iron deficiency (anaemia) as they hold less iron in the body than men. Since iron is needed to transport oxygen around the blood, a lack will hamper blood flow.
• Lifestyle factors also massively accelerate age damage, and weaken blood supply to the extremities. With age, nutrients are not so well processed by the body.
• The combination of a poor diet which lacks vital vitamins and minerals such as B12 and folate, sleep deprivation, loss of muscle tissue due to inappropriate exercise, and smoking, all damage the blood supply.
Who’s at risk?
• A new survey has found that women are up to nine times more likely to suffer from cold hands and feet than men.
Changes in temperature affect us more, as we have thinner skin than men, so our feet get colder quicker.
• There are many theories as to why women suffer from this problem. We have more evenly distributed fat layers, providing internal insulation.
But while the result is that our blood supply favours protecting our core organs and trunk over our extremities, it means less blood flows to the hands and feet.
Men on the other hand have more heat-generating muscle mass, better supplied by blood vessels, increasing blood flow and, therefore, warmth.
• You can see how women’s faces get thinner as they get older; well, so does the skin on their feet, and this is why the blood finds it hard to get to them and warm them up.
It is found that it usually only seriously affects women in the 40-plus age group, as their skin gets thinner with age.
• Mood — Can influence our temperature, people who are lonely or socially excluded feel colder, so be more sociable.
• Eat properly — Combat age-related body breakdown, by implementing a proper meal plan high in dark green and dark red vegetables such as spinach and beetroot, along with complete protein sources like eggs and chicken. Daily, supplement with targeted vitamins and minerals, like a complete vitamin B complex.
• Exercise regularly — Will boost hormone activity, enhance muscle tissue, and improve circulation/blood flow. Even daily periodic walks around the office helps.
• Hydrate — Drink lots of water.
• Get adequate sleep — Six to eight hours sleep per night is essential, as this is when the body repairs itself.
• Shoes choices – Ensure your shoes or socks are not tight as it can cut off circulation, hence the cold sensation.
• Moisturise – Moisturising the feet helps with blood flow while retaining heat. When your feet feel particularly cold, wear thick wool socks.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!
Leana Huntley is an English trained foot health practitioner
attached to ALMAWI Limited The Holistic clinic. Contact the Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website at www.almawiclinic.com