You have to understand that thyroid problems are much more common than most people think, and they often go undetected. It is possible to have a thyroid problem causing wrinkly hands or fingertips. It is more common in hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid gland is not as active as it should be. Many experts are of the view that you are likely to have wrinkly fingertips due to hypothyroidism because it slows down your metabolism and lowers your body temperature as well. With your body temperature going down it is natural for blood vessels at the top of your fingertips to constrict to prevent loss of heat. This constriction pulls the skin down and produces an appearance of wrinkles.
When you have wrinkled fingertips thyroid may be the culprit. In this case you should seek immediate medical attention.
The thyroid does more for the body than many people realize. The thyroid gland is the all-important, yet not well known gland that controls the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The BMR is defined as the base or minimal rate of energy the body is expending, or even simpler it is the speed at which cells make energy/heat. When your thyroid is in proper working order it your body is able to stay at the appropriate temperature which is 98.6 Fahrenheit. However, the body naturally changes temperature throughout the day, but only within a degree. So if you are sensitive to the cold, this could be the reason why.
Being cold is definitely an uncomfortable symptom, but an even more important reason for having your thyroid check is thyroid dysfunction and thyroid disease can lead to heart problems1 (which usually leads to poor circulation causing the cold hands and feet). The thyroid hormone affects the cardiac contractility along with components such as blood pressure, rhythm disturbances, and more. All of these are of great importance, but one that stands out is the cardiac contractility. Cardiac contractility is the measurement of cardiac pump performance. Cardiac contractility has a direct effect on the cardiac output, the amount of blood the heart pumps in one minute. So is the contractility is compromised then the heart is pumping a lower amount of blood than optimal.
Thyroid dysfunction can affect the heart in more ways than just causing poor circulation. Hypothyroidism can also lead to heart disease. The heart disease can be caused by a buildup of mucin. Mucin is a protein substance in the body and can begin to accumulate in an individual with low thyroid function. This substance attaches to water which leads to swelling in the heart muscle, causing weakness and poor heart health. Thyroid dysfunction also raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes. When the body isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormone it can cause the heart to beat too slowly or irregularly, blood pressure change, and high cholesterol, all of which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Your Nails and the Thyroid
According to Hypothyroidmom, “Our fingernails (and toenails actually) say so much about our health. It is mind-blowing when you look at the references listed at the bottom of this article the number of conditions of the nails associated with hypothyroidism including Alunula (absence of the Lunula, the little white moons of the bed of the nails), Onychorrhexis (longitudinal ridging of the nails), Beau’s Lines (transverse grooves or depressions of the nail plate), Koilonychia (spoon shaped nail plates), Onycholysis (separation of the nail from the nail bed), Pterygium Unguis (thinning of the nail fold and spreading of the cuticle over the nail plate), Onychomycosis (fungal infection of the nail), Yellow Nail Syndrome, brittleness, slow growth, and thickening.”
The next time you experience cold feet and it has nothing to do with a situation you are trying to get out of, make sure you pay attention to it! Your body is sending you a clue in the form of discomfort.
Heymann, W.R. (2008). Thyroid Disorders with Cutaneous Manifestations. London: Springer-Verlag London Ltd.
Macura, A.B. et al. Nail susceptibility to fungal infections in patients with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Przegl Lek. 2005;62(4):218-21.