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Question:

From Houston, Texas, USA:

My daughter who is 15 has unusually cold hands. This condition isn't all of the time, but it isn't when she is air conditioned spaces, etc. She can have cold hands at any time. Recently she told me that sometimes when her hands are cold, they seem to cramp and she has difficulty holding objects. This seems to be occurring more and more. Could this be a condition of diabetes? If not, what type of doctor should I approach??

Answer:

The circulation of blood through the skin is an important way of controlling body temperature. Individuals vary greatly in their sensitivity to external temperature. Occasionally a sensitive response will result in a mild but irritating vasculitis (chilblains) and the remedy is to maintain skin blood flow with gloves and additional clothing.

It is very unlikely that these cold hands represent any pathology and certainly not diabetes; but you would probably feel reassured if you talked to your daughter's pediatrician and had an opportunity to discuss the need for further studies.

DO'B

[Editor's comment: Although it's unlikely, similar symptoms could be caused by a condition called Reynaud's Disease, which is usually treated by a specialist called a rheumatologist. WWQ]

Original posting 18 Nov 96

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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