The Link Between Your Heart and Your Cold Feet

The old expression, “Cold feet, warm heart,” has everything to do with your kindness and nothing to do with your heart health. In fact, cold feet can be a sign of cardiovascular disease, and we explore the more common causes here.

While our goal is not to be alarmist (sometimes cold feet are just cold feet), our team here at Modern Heart Institute believes that our patients should have all the facts at their disposal. Under the guidance of Dr. Rajiv Agarwal, we’ve pulled together the following information on cold feet and how they may be related to your heart health.

Peripheral artery disease

If you find that your feet are always cold, no matter the temperature outside, it could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Approximately 6.5 million people over the age of 40 in the United States have PAD, which makes it a fairly common condition.

PAD is a condition in which the arteries in your extremities are narrowed or blocked, preventing the optimal flow of blood to outlying areas. While PAD can strike your arms, it’s far more common in your legs.

One of the primary reasons for the blockages is atherosclerosis, which is when fatty plaque builds up along the walls of your arteries, restricting the amount of space through which your blood can flow.

While cold feet is one symptom of PAD, you may also experience:

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, along with chilly feet, you should come in for an evaluation sooner rather than later so that we can get your blood flowing more freely and your feet a little warmer.

Raynaud’s disease

This rare disease occurs when small arteries in your toes or hands overreact to temperature changes and restrict (vasospasm). Raynaud’s disease isn’t terribly common and typically affects women more than men.

While cold feet are certainly one symptom, your toes usually also lose color and become white or blue.

In most cases, the coldness subsides after 15 minutes or so after your blood vessels relax and allow more blood to flow in.

There are two types of Raynaud’s disease: Primary and secondary. With the primary form, the condition isn’t terribly serious and can often resolve itself on its own.

With secondary Raynaud’s disease, there’s an underlying condition that’s causing the problem, and we need to determine what that condition is in order to get you on the road to warmer toes. In some cases, secondary Raynaud’s disease is caused by PAD, which is why it typically develops after the age of 40.

If you’re experiencing unusually cold feet, we urge you to come see us at one of our six locations in Humble, Katy, Livingston, or Cleveland, Texas. Simply click here to get started.

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