Warm/Cold Hands And Feet

What Causes Warm Or Cold Extremities?

Warm or cold extremities can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'needs attention' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose warm or cold extremities, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "warm or cold extremities" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities:
  • Raynaud's Phenomenon
  • Low Progesterone
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Mercury Toxicity
  • Poor Circulation
  • Stress
  • Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
premenstrual weight gain
having low-normal TT4 level
history of sinusitis
regularly feeling unusually cold
severe fatigue after slight exertion
a high-stress lifestyle
high diastolic blood pressure
metallic taste in mouth
cysts in breasts
bags under eyes
being an unsocial person
... and more than 200 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of warm or cold extremities:
Cause Probability Status
Raynaud's Phenomenon 96% Confirm
Low Progesterone 14% Unlikely
Poor Circulation 26% Unlikely
Chronic Fatigue-Fibromyalgia 4% Ruled out
Adrenal Fatigue 2% Ruled out
Hypothyroidism 1% Ruled out
Mercury Toxicity 1% Ruled out
Stress 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Metabolic Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about warm/cold hands and feet:
How warm or cold do your hands and feet tend to be? Consider when you shake hands with other people: do their hands usually feel warm (meaning your hands are colder) or cold (your hands are warmer)?
Possible responses:
→ Usually or always cold
→ Colder than average
→ Average / don't know
→ Warmer than average
→ Usually or always warm
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either cold hands and/or feet or warm hands and/or feet, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Raynaud's phenomenon (severe cold hands and feet) affects about 16% of fibromyalgia sufferers.
Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance
Cold hands and feet, often caused by low thyroid function, may be a symptom of estrogen excess or low progesterone influencing thyroid function.
Poor Circulation
In cases of peripheral vascular disease, the arteries narrow and there is a marked reduction of blood flow especially to the fingers and toes.

Related Questions

Metabolic Symptoms