Frostbite

cold-feetFrostbite occurs when tissues freeze. This condition happens when you are exposed to temperatures below the freezing point of skin. Everyone is susceptible, even people who have been living in cold climates for most of their lives.

Hypothyroidism

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is inflammation of the thyroid gland, which damages the gland’s cells. Some women develop hypothyroidism after pregancy (often referred to as “postpartum throiditis”).

Other common causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Congenital (birth) defects
  • Radiation treatments to the neck to treat different cancers, which may also damage the thyroid gland
  • Radioactive iodine used to treat an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland, done to treat other thyroid problems
  • Viral thyroiditis, which may case hyperthyroidism and is often followed by temporary or permanent hypothyroidism

Peripheral Neuropathy

There are many different kinds of peripheral neuropathy with many different causes. The range from carpal tunnel syndrome (an injury common after chronic repetitive use of the hands and wrists, such as computer use) to Guillain-Barre syndrome (a rare, sudden paralysis).

As a group, peripheral neuropathies are common, especially among people over the age of 55. All together, the conditions affect 3% to 4% of people in this group.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and brain. While there are many causes of peripheral vascular disease, doctors commonly use the term peripheral vascular disease to refer to peripheral artery disease (peripheral arterial disease, PAD), a condition that develops when the arteries that supply blood to the internal organs, arms, and legs become completely or partially blocked as a result of atherosclerosis.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition resulting in a particular series of discolorations of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature (cold or hot) or emotional events. Skin discoloration occurs because an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causes a diminished blood supply to the local tissues. Initially, the digit(s) involved turn white because of the diminished blood supply. The digit(s) then turn blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen. Finally, the blood vessels reopen, causing a local “flushing” phenomenon, which turns the digit(s) red. This three-phase color sequence (white to blue to red), most often upon exposure to cold temperature, is characteristic of of this phenomenon.

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