It’s winter which means many of us struggle to keep our fingers warm. Regardless if you are wandering around outside on a bitter day, or staring out at the winter wonderland from inside your home, the biggest chill is felt in your fingers.

Believe it or not, that’s normal. Extremities tend to be a bit cooler because the body sends more blood and warmth to your vital organs (i.e. your heart, brain and lungs) first. That said, if your fingers always feel like little glaciers, even in warmer temps, it may be a sign of something more.

Raynaud’s Syndrome

This is disorder, which is not fully understood, is the common cause of cold fingers. A condition in which the blood vessels in the fingers narrow, the fingers can turn white, blue, and feel extremely cold. Often induced by stress, these “cold” attacks can be painful, but are often short-lived one the stressor goes away.

Circulation Problems

Probably the most common cause of cold fingers, poor circulation prevents the body’s heart from getting enough blood around the body. The first place this manifests is in your hands and toes. Along with the chill, you’ll also experience numbness or tingling.

Anemia

Anemia is when your body has less than the normal amount of red blood cells and can be caused by an iron-deficiency, blood loss, cancer, or digestive disorders. As a result, you’ll experience a decrease in oxygen supply to the body, which may lead to cold hands.

Low Blood Pressure

There are many causes of low blood pressure: dehydration, blood loss, medications, and endocrine disorders. Low blood pressure forces your body’s blood vessels to shift blood away from your extremities and towards your vital organs. As a result, your fingers will feel chilled.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are well known for their negative effects on the body. Chronic stress, which isn’t uncommon during the holiday season, forces your body to enter the “fight or flight” mode. As a result, blood vessels constrict, which leads to those frosty fingers.

Medications

Believe it or not, your medications may be making your fingers icy. A number of medications constrict blood vessels. These can include blood pressure meds like beta-blockers, migraine medications, and over-the-counter decongestants.

Smoking

Just one more reason to give up cigarettes right? The nicotine from cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict. It also can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, which further reduces blood flow to the extremities.