I have always had this but it seems to be getting worse. I have extremely cold fingertips, toes and even the tip of my nose is always cold! These areas are more cold in the fall and winter and spring but I have had cold extremities even in the summer time.

The skin under my nails sometimes look purple/blue and if they are very cold (usually from being outside) they take a very long time to warm up again. I don't have any tingling or numbness (unless I was outside and it was very cold) and no pain associated with it.

Is this something to worry about?
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replied December 11th, 2012
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sm88,

You do not say how old you are, if you smoke, and if you have any cardiac problems.


Many people just have cold extremities (cold hands, warm heart). As long as there is enough oxygen getting to the tissues, it is not a problem.

But, if the patient is developing pain in the extremities or problems with poor wound healing, due to ischemia (lack of oxygen), then something might have to be done. But, first the cause of the poor circulation would have to be determined.

Patients who smoke are at risk for a disorder called Buerger’s disease (thromboangiitis obliterans). But, this affects mostly men under the age of 40, but women can develop it. In this disorder, the arteries to the hands and feet become inflamed and can develop small clots. This disrupts the blood flow, resulting in ischemia.

Patients who have diabetes have what is called “small vessel disease”. The very small vessels to the hands and feet become occluded, again causing ischemia. This is one of the reasons that patients with diabetes have trouble healing wounds.

Patients with arthrosclerosis can also develop problems with circulation, called PVD (peripheral vascular disease). This is usually in older patients.

There is an uncommon disorder, called Raynaud’s, where patients can develop blueness in the fingers/toes when exposed to cold or stress.

There are several other causes of cold extremities, such as vasospastic disorders, some connective tissue diseases, and problems with the sympathetic nervous system (which regulate the blood flow in arteries).


So, if you are concerned about the coldness in your fingers/toes, you should see your physician. You may have to have some tests done, to see if enough oxygen is getting to the tissues. You might have to see a vascular surgeon for some of these tests.


Good luck.
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replied December 13th, 2012
Thank you for your reply! I am a 24 year old female and I do not smoke. I am a physically active person (I work out 3-5 times a week) and I don't have diabetes or any other known illnesses.
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replied December 15th, 2012
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sm88<

Again, some people just have cool or cold hands. As long as the tissues are getting enough oxygen, it is fine. But, if you develop a deep aching pain along with the coolness or your fingers turn dark blue, then you might want be checked out by your physician.

There are some connective tissue diseases that affect young women, but most have some other symptoms.

Again, if it bothers you, have it checked out.

Good luck.
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