Warming up cold hands and feet

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If your hands feel cold even during warm or mild weather, or they take a long time to warm up after being exposed to the cold, you may have a disease or condition that restricts blood flow to the hands.

If your hands and feet always seem to be cold, try these simple measures to keep warm:
• Wear warm clothes
This will keep your whole body warm and help maintain circu-
lation to your hands and feet. Layer clothing for indoor as well as outdoor wear. Try wearing a long-sleeved, silk camisole or shirt under a blouse or sweater, topped by a wool jacket for in- door dress. Use warmth-conserving fabrics such as silk, wool or down, or synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene or Thinsulate.
• Exercise
During activity, small, surface blood vessels dilate and more
warm blood flows to your hands and feet. The effect can last for several hours.
• Avoid nicotine and limit caffeine
Both are vasoconstrictors that narrow blood vessels and reduce blood flow to small, surface vessels.
• Avoid certain medications
Certain migraine medications with ergot derivatives and beta blockers such as propranolol act as vasoconstrictors and may cause cold hands and feet. If you suspect that a medication might be causing such symptoms, talk with your doctor, but don’t make changes to your medication regimen without your doctor’s advice.
• Reduce stress
Tense, high-strung people seem more likely to have cold hands. Chronic stress and anxiety can cause your nervous system to continually pump out adrenaline. This hormone also acts as a vasoconstrictor.

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