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Old 11-20-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Unhappy Hands, feet and nose freezing cold on a daily basis; diagnoses/treatments?

First let me start off by saying I'm an otherwise healthy 21-year-old male; I believe I've been particularly cold and heat sensitive/intolerant for most of my life but it's taken a dramatic and specific turn for the worse in the past year or so. In fall 2009 I began noticing my feet were very cold on a regular basis, even when the rest of me was warm. I think I noticed it in my hands as well back then but not as often or as severe. It would particularly be a problem at night when I was in bed and it would keep me from falling asleep; wool socks didn't do a whole lot since my feet were still freezing inside them. Eventually after a few months of this I splurged and bought a $200.00 pair of heated electric socks to run overnight while I slept just so I wouldn't have to deal with the coldness anymore (they helped but all the wires that came with them were unfortunately almost as much of a distraction as the coldness was).

After winter passed the problem seemed to resolve itself for a while, then around May or so it came back, this time mostly in my hands. On a nightly basis I'd have to sit on my hands or go to the sink and run hot water over them to warm them because of how distracting their frigidness was. Occasionally it would only be one hand that was cold while the other was perfectly normal or even hot. I saw a few different doctors around this time and mentioned it to them but none of them gave me any definitive answers or solutions and didn't seem very concerned about it. Also around this time I was put on Dexedrine, a medication which commonly acts as a vasoconstrictor, but the issue was more or less the same in the weeks before and after starting the new meds so I'm not sure how much of an impact that had on it. I believe it got somewhat better over the warmer summer months but has come back with a vengeance this fall. Now running warm or hot water over my hands has become a daily necessity for me, especially after I've been outside (with or without gloves on). Also, now when my hands are cold and I put them under warm water there will be a burning/stinging sensation for the first 15 seconds or so and they'll turn very red. The water is never boiling hot; I always test it on my forearm first and can tell it's normal. It's only my hands/fingers that get the burning sensation from it.

Also new is that the coldness has now become prevalent in my nose as well fairly commonly. Sometimes it will be the opposite though and will be inexplicably uncomfortably hot while the rest of me is normal. This same thing happens to my hands and feet as well and there's often a deep redness to the areas when this occurs and many times it will seem like my veins are bulging out there, as if all the blood was collecting there suddenly, especially in my feet. When this happens I'll feel compelled to run *cold* water over the area due to how heated it feels. I've talked to my doctor about all this recently but he still can't give me any real answers as to what the problem may be or what to do about it; he said it could be Raynaud's which sounds partially accurate. However, I've never witnessed any of my extremities becoming purple or blue or white, only red when they're too warm. There's also no real pain involved with the coldness, just the sensation of having freezing hands/feet/nose which makes it so that I can't focus on anything else when it happens until I've warmed the area up again.

Sorry for the overly long description, but does this sound like anything in particular to anyone? I'd really like to know the cause of all this but haven't been able to find any real answers so far. Also, any help or advice on treatment or management would be greatly appreciated. I've read about the supplement L-Arginine helping with this type of issue, either as a daily pill or as a topical cream, but other than that the treatment options seem mostly to just be "keep warm" which is difficult since I live in northern Maine and it's rarely above freezing outside from mid-November through mid-March. So again, any insight or advice anyone may have to offer here would be much appreciated!

 
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:12 PM   #2
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Re: Hands, feet and nose freezing cold on a daily basis; diagnoses/treatments?

It still sounds like Raynaud's, even if your extremities don't turn blue. You need not experience every conceivable symptom of a syndrome in order to have it. Read these 6 pages about the disorder:
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/raynaud/ray_signs.html

Given your symptoms, I'd be pursuing Raynaud's until all diagnostic tests and the MD's clinical experience completely rule out the possibility. It doesn't sound like you're there yet.

 
Old 12-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: Hands, feet and nose freezing cold on a daily basis; diagnoses/treatments?

I have had Reynaud's for years and my hands, feet and nose get cold. THe nose is the worst. My hands seldom turn blue, never white sometimes red.
I run warm water over my hands, sometimes I take the hair dryer and blow heat on my nose.
Reynaud's sometimes goes along with other conditions, so you might want to get checked out. I have fibromyalgia. It is an annoyance. I always tell doctors before surgery or medical tests in cold rooms so they can wrap my hands in heated blankets. My last surgery they had a warm heater blowing on me.

 
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