PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With these bitter temperatures, many of us have cold hands. But for some, it can be especially uncomfortable and potentially, a sign that something is wrong.
It’s tough to stay warm in bone chilling weather. But some people have cold hands all the time and that could mean a number of medical issues, including one that’s being treated with Botox and Viagra of all things.
“If it takes more than 20 minutes to warm your hands then there is a problem,” said Dr. Nadera Sweiss, a rheumatologist.
Cold hands can be a warning sign of many conditions from heart or thyroid disease, to auto-immune problems. They can even be a side effect of decongestants. Other symptoms to watch for include color changes in your fingers, especially white or blue, numbness or tingling and even pain.
Sarah Lindeman has Raynaud’s Syndrome. It’s one of the most common causes of cold hands. It affects the flow of blood to the fingers.
“For me it started in one finger that turned purple and kind of remained purple for a while. It was colder to the touch than my other fingers,” said Sarah.
The unlikely Raynaud’s treatment is a combination of Viagra and Botox, and work mainly on blood flow.
“We give the patients those medications we’re trying to overall increase the blood flow to their hands,” said Dr. Genard Henry, a surgeon.
Diana Merz has had Raynaud’s for 30 years. She says every year the symptoms get progressively worse, and she avoids going out in the winter.
“I experience a lot of pain and burning and tingling. I’m right handed and the circulation in my right hand is worse. So it’s affected my ability, ya know to do small hand tasks,” said Diana.
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At her first Botox treatment, within minutes of the injections, it was amazing to see Diana’s fingers lose the shade of blue, and slowly return to pink.
“I’m surprised at the color coming back so quickly. The tingling in my middle finger in my right hand, which was always there, is gone,” said Diana.
Botox also helps relieve the pain that often comes with attacks of Raynaud’s. The syndrome can also affect the toes, nose and ears. It’s traditionally treated with drugs that relax blood vessels.
Reported By Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3