Blood Circulation Problems in Hands

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Circulatory problems in the hands may be caused by a variety of conditions, including autoimmune diseases, injuries, structural defects, anemia and genetic diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic. The patient's first indication of a circulatory issue may be numbness, tingling, change in skin color or a sensation that the hands are cold. Treatment varies with the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. If serious circulatory problems are left untreated, the patient may eventually require amputation of one or more fingers.

Raynaud's Disease

Patient's with Raynaud's disease experience spasms in the arteries of the fingers and toes that limit blood flow to the areas, reports the Mayo Clinic. The affected areas turn pale and dusky when blood flow is diminished, then turn red when the spasms resolve. The cause of Raynaud's disease is unknown, but it appears to be an overreaction to stress or cold exposure. Patients with lupus, scleroderma, arterial disease and carpal tunnel syndrome often develop Raynaud's disease. Smokers, typists, pianists and patients who are exposed to vinyl chloride are at risk for the condition. Medications for high blood pressure, cancer, migraines and hormone imablances also are associated with Raynaud's disease.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome is caused by an extra first rib or other congenital abnormality of the bone structure that compresses the nerves and blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Patients with arterial thoracic outlet syndrome complain of poor circulation in the arms, hands and fingers, as well as numbness, sores or cold sensitivity in the hands and fingers. Without treatment, permanent nerve damage, blood clots, ulcers and gangrene can occur. Surgery to remove the extra rib and repair arterial damage may be required.

Thromboangiitis Obliterans

Thromboangiitis obliterans, also called Buerger's disease, is a rare condition that obstructs blood vessels in the hands and feet, according to MedlinePlus. Symptoms may include acute, burning or tingling pain in the hands and feet; pale, red or bluish skin in the affected areas; pain in the feet, ankles or legs while walking; ulcers on the hands or feet; and cold sensitivity.


Patients with anemia have poor circulation to various parts of the body, including the hands, because they do not have enough healthy red blood cells to oxygenate the tissues, reports the Mayo Clinic. Anemia may be caused by deficiencies in iron or vitamins, exposure to chemicals or genetic disorders. Symptoms include a rapid pulse, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and pale skin. Treatment depends on the cause of the anemia.

Structural Problems

Structural problems in the vascular system can reduce blood flow to the hands. Traumatic injuries, abnormal connections between the veins and arteries, and aneurysms—balloon-like weaknesses in the wall of a blood vessel—-can cause pain, cold sensitivity, pallor, sores, swelling, tingling or numbness in the hands due to impaired circulation, according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. If circulation is seriously impaired, surgical intervention will be required.