Cold Feet: Vascular disease or Neuropathy ?

Posted , 7 users are following.

I'm a 45-year-old male that's been a binge drinker for 25 years.  I used to drink 6-8 drinks 2 nights a week, now I drink 5-6 drinks maybe one night a week.

For the past 6+ years, I've had cold feet.  All day long at my desk job!

I've complained to my doctor 6-years-in-a-row at my annual physical every year, but he's never really been able to diagnose the cause of my cold feet, aside from eliminating a few things.

My doctor has run a bunch of blood tests etc on me, and doesn't think the cold feet problem stems from Diabetes or Hypothyroidism.  

And the symptons aren't at all right for Raynaud's disease. 

So I'm thinking it's either 1) Peripheral vascular disease, or 2) Peripheral neuropathy.  

Or, possibly some third condition that I haven't thought of.

Here's my own (possibly faulty) reasoning, to try to identify my condition as either vascular disease or peripheral neuropathy:



Symptoms I have that seem (to me) to point to Vascular Disease:

 If I go on a long walk, my feet are cold for the first 15 minutes, then feel amazing and warm (normal) until an hour after I stop walking.

Standing or lying down helps somewhat; sitting in an office chair makes the foot coldness much worse.

I'm probably 30 pounds overweight

Symptoms that don't seem like Vascular Disease:

 My doctor put blood pressure cuffs on my ankles (not sure the name of the test) and said blood flow to my feet is very strong and healthy.

My feet feel warm to the touch.

I've never been a smoker

My feet "look" totally normal and healthy. (not blue or white)



Symptoms I have that seem (to me) to point to Neuropathy:

The cold feet problem emerged 6 years ago when I started drinking more alcohol

My nutrition is relatively poor; I don't eat a wide variety of food

Symptoms that don't seem like Neuropathy:

My feet always feel amazing if I, say, submerge them into warm water.

If I bundle my feet in socks or a blanket, my feet feel pretty comfortable.

My doctor poked at my feet, and says that my sense of touch seems normal.



My hands and feet have always been clammy, perhaps undiagnosed hyperhydrosis.

The only drug I take is finasteride (proscar).

I drink a lot of coffee and caffeinated diet soda; approximatey 5 or 6 servings a day.  The start of this habit did coincide with the beginning of my cold feet.  But stopping caffeine for a week didn't perceptibly help my cold feet.

I've started taking a multivitamin a few months ago, plus B vitamins, but there hasn't been noticeable improvement in my cold feet situation.


So what do you folks think the cause of my cold feet is? 

Vascular disease?  Neuropathy?  Something else?

Any ideas on tests I could request?  Or how I could otherwise distinguish condition one from the other?

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    I think I'd suggest that you book an appointment with another doctor before your next annual physical - someone completely different who doesn't have any prior knowledge of you and let them try find the cause.

    Sometimes, there are no causes for things and we are just that way because we are.  Having cold feet can be something that is normal for you now that you are hitting middle age.

    No-one here can answer your question specifically, I'm afraid, and it sounds like you are not going to rest until you have a reason.  If your doctor (and potentially a second doctor) has run tests and ruled out certain conditions, then it is not likely to be them.

    One thing you haven't mentioned here is whether you have considered not drinking at all for a couple of months and seeing if the situation improves then?

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  • Posted

    You need a professional diagnosis.

    no one here can define what condition you have. Personally it sounds like a circulation problem. But then I'm no medic and you've had tests which disprove this

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  • Posted

    1. Get a second opinion.

    2. Lose those 30lbs. Exercise improves circulation if that is at all an issue and losing those 30lbs can't hurt anything. Start out slow with exercising and change your diet. Cut down on meat and dairy (or cut it out all together) and try to eat a more plant based, fresh, raw and organic diet. Have fun with it. 

    3. For the love of all things holy stop drinking soda. You were able to quit caffeine cold turkey for a week? Yeah just no more soda. At all. Ever. For any reason. If you need a replacement try sparkling water mixed with some organic juice.

    4. If you're only having 5-6 alcoholic drinks one night per week - try and cut that down a bit to 3 drinks? Better yet quit entirely if that's possible for you. If its now and you drink hard alcohol, drink wine or beer instead. 

    I have extremely cold hands and feet as well the last few years oddly enough with zero explanations of diagnosis. I've been sober for a year. Diet and exercise help. I also have small amount of hypothyroidism, but I'm underweight. Point is - try those things I listed above and get a second opinion! 

    Good luck. 

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  • Posted

    Neuropathy--also called peripheral neuropathy--refers to any condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that connects the central nervous system--the brain and spinal cord--to the rest of the body.
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