If you suffer from cold hands and feet, you will understand how discomforting this can be. Cold hands and feet can affect anyone, but it appears that predominantly they are more common in women. Although if you live in colder environments, you are more likely to suffer from these, but this is not always the case as many people suffer from cold hands and feet during the summer months too. In order to avoid serious problems, it is important to be aware of what causes cold hands and feet and what you need to do in order to prevent this becoming a serious problem.
The possible causes of cold hands and feet
There are many reasons that would contribute to someone suffering from cold hands and feet and these may include:
Exposing the body including the feet and hands to lower temperatures which constricts the blood vessels and decreases blood flow to the hands and feet. Read More…
What is restless leg syndrome (RLS) and what causes it?
Whilst the subject of restless legs has been studied extensively, the causes of restless legs still remain a mystery to modern science. The symptoms of restless legs begin in a way that is almost contrary to all other types of pain in the limbs. Most types of leg pain ease when you rest the legs whereas with restless legs the pain gets more intense when you relax. Usually people do not wish to move when in pain whereas with restless legs, you feel noticeably better when you move around.
What are the symptoms of restless legs?
The symptoms of restless legs are variable include:
Uncontrollable desire to move legs particularly at night-time.
Twitching of the legs and leg muscles.
Pain in legs which feels like ‘creepy crawly sensation’.
Itching, pulling pain.
Symptoms get worse the more you keep your legs still.
Inability to sleep at night which subsequently results in fatigue and a lack of concentration during the day.
Ulcers are breaks in the skin which fail to heal by themselves and may be accompanied by inflammation. Ulcers can occur anywhere on the body, however for this editorial I am specifically going to limit this to foot and leg ulcers.
A foot or leg ulcer is an open sore on the foot that looks like a red crater on skin. A leg ulcer can be shallow and only break through the surface of the skin or it can be very deep, extending through the full thickness of skin exposing tendons and bones. Leg ulcers are located mostly on the side of the foot or on the top or tip of the toe.
If leg ulcers are not treated quickly, they can get infected with serious consequences. Leg ulcers can develop into an abscess and spread through skin and into the bone. This can lead to gangrene or the death of the tissue. Read More…
Chilblains, more common in women than men, are a relatively common concern almost exclusively confined to colder climates and countries. They are a painful reaction to cold weather that commonly occur in the toes though they can also affect the rest of the foot, fingers, the nose and ears.
What are chilblains?
Chilblains, also known as perniosis, are unusual reactions of the small blood vessels, called capillaries, within one’s skin. Chilblains look like small red bumps on the toes and fingers and are often very itchy and painful. The cold weather causes the capillaries to constrict and when the area warms up again, the capillaries are not able to open up quickly resulting in the stagnation of blood and all the waste products within it. It is these waste products that accumulate in skin and set off an inflammatory reaction that can be painful. Read More…
Swelling of the feet and ankles is a particularly common problem. The medical name for this condition is oedema and this occurs when fluid is retained outside of the cells of the body. Feet and ankles normally swell up when there is something wrong with the foot itself, such as a sprain or fracture, or this may be associated with surgery, high blood pressure, being overweight, during pregnancy or due to excessive salt in our diet. These are just some of the main reasons for swollen feet and ankles.
Gravity pulls fluids down to the legs and ankles and under normal circumstances the contraction of muscles in the legs compresses the veins and helps counteract gravity by moving blood back to the heart. Inactivity and the way you sit can contribute to fluids moving from the blood into the surrounding tissues.
In addition to the swelling, inactivity greatly increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is a serious condition where a blood clot forms in the deep veins within the muscles. The biggest concern with the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins is the risk that this clot may dislodge and shoot to the lungs. If the clot is big enough then this can be fatal. Read More…
Haemorrhoids are badly swollen, inflamed veins located both around the anus and along the very lowest part of the colon in the rectum. The swollen veins that are external are commonly referred to as ‘piles’ or ‘external haemorrhoids’. It is estimated that nearly 75% of all adults in the Western world will suffer from haemorrhoids at some point and that is why the causal factors are thought to be predominantly dietary and ageing.
The symptoms of external haemorrhoids, those that protrude outside the body, typically tend to itch, are painful and can bleed. When faecal matter passes through the anal region, some of these inflamed veins cannot resist the pressure and hence rapture, releasing their contents, which causes pain, itching and blood spots.
Internal haemorrhoids on the other hand are usually painless and whilst you may see some blood spots or staining, the discomfort is significantly less, however we recommend that at the first sign of blood, you should visit your GP to rule out any possible links to other diseases.