AF Association
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Freezing cold hands

Hi everyone ... anyone got any tips for dealing with freezing cold hands please? I know this is probably a side effect of bisoprolol and, in the greater scheme of things, not very important but I'd be really grateful if other sufferers had any bright ideas for keeping hands a bit warmer. Outdoors isn't so much of a problem (can wear gloves -2 pairs if needed), but even fingerless gloves aren't a lot of help indoors when I need to be doing stuff like typing or crafts. I've tried fingerless compression gloves of the type sold for people with conditions like Reynauld's disease, but they haven't been all that much help.

Carole

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I don't. Sorry ! But when I had a severe AF attavk just before it I was so very very cold. Shaking and could not get warm.

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I agree it is likely the bisoprolol is a factor with this. Have you discussed with your doctor the idea of changing to a calcium antagonist?

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We've talked about the side effects of bisoprolol in general terms, but not about changing meds. I'll raise it with her again if I can't find a solution that works from the excellent practical suggestions others here have given (below)

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See my comment below.

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Try going to a ski shop and ask for the liners used inside ski gloves for extra warmth, they used to be silk but are now made of a hightec fibre. They would not be bulky so you will be able to use them for your indoor things, maybe cutting the finger tips out if you need more direct contact. Perhaps used with the fingerless compression gloves you may have a bit more success.

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Good idea. I'll see what I can find when I go into town tomorrow.

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My feet are always freezing

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Happily my feet aren't affected so much. I wear cosy slippers indoors and bedsocks + hot water bottle in bed. That seems to be enough.

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My feet also. Unfortunately that started a few weeks ago a few times and that was only September. What will it be like when winter comes properly, especially if it is the bad winter some predict?

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Surgical gloves. No hindrance to fine detail work with good feel. I wear them in the workshop in winter for warmth.

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Thanks for the suggestion, Bob. I'll have a look online for them.

Carole

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It may not be the Bisoprolol. My circulation improved after I had heart surgery and was put on Bisoprolol as well. Not recommending that you should have heart surgery of course! I used to find that hot water bottles helped.

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My circulation never was all that good, but the current problem only started once I was prescribed bisoprolol. Fingers crossed I don't need heart surgery!

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I don't think much can be done. Mine stay cold even when I put them on the electric blanket

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I'm the same cold hands and feet and shaking with cold and it's only October dreading the coming months

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We are heading into summer so some very hot days to look forward to . When I ccame round after ablation could not stop shaking I was freezing they put two hot blankets on me took me ages to get warm

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@Mazza23.

Me too. I was shivering for well over an hour, but I never got any blankets.!

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You being cold after the ablation was probably because they have the temperature very low in the Cath Lab.

On my first three ablations I was sedated and one thing I really remember is shivering from the cold atmosphere.

Not so bad on last 2 ablations as I had a GA and the recovery room wasn't so bad.

Pete

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Yes the lab was very cold they put a hot blanket on me while they did the prep I also hAdhad a ga 5hrs is a long time in the cold

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I don't think my problem sounds as severe as yours, but I'm not looking forward to a cold winter either. I hope you can find a way to stay warm(er).

Carole

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Go to Toolstation website and look for Kevlar gloves. You can do most things in them as very thin and very strong. £5 a pair. Don't know if they will keep the heat in enough but I find my hands get too hot in them

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Many thanks for this suggestion, Mike. I'll look into it.

Carole

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There are lots of toolstation shops around now so you may be able to go and see them first.

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Yes. Thank you. I've just looked at the store locator and there's one not too far away. I've found them on their website too. Only problem might be is that I am female and have quite small hands. These seem to be one size and look to be quite big. However, maybe cutting the finger tips off and wearing them over the compression gloves could be the answer. At least they are not expensive.

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I'm taking Bisopropol and I have Raynauds but not suffered with cold extremities indoors. Perhaps something else is causing the problem?

Maggie

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I guess that's always possible, though the problem is definitely linked to starting to take bisoprolol in my case. However I'll raise the matter with my GP again just in case it could be another/linked(?) problem.

Carole

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Since starting Bisoprolol, I've had freezing fingers and have been plagued by chilblains on them each winter. Like you, I've tried everything in the glove catalogues to no avail.

My solution is to use a heated cushion (a fango kissen at blood temperature) to keep my fingers at blood temperature when I cook - handling cold veggies was always murder - read or work at my painting. It's a nuisance to start with, but I've had no chilblains since I started and it takes only the odd rest of the fingers to keep them warm.

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Thank you for this suggestion. I'll look into it.

Carole

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It is probably due to lack of circulation in many people, particularly those (like me ) in persistent AF.

One think that I have thought of to look into because of this post is they sell "skins" for playing sports in during winter which are supposed to be very light and flexible (I haven't actually seen them so can't vouch). I wonder if they make gloves that are skins?

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Oh. I hadn't thought of 'skins', Peter. Thank you for this suggestion. I'll see if I can find whether such things exist.

Carole

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Also what about hand warmers.

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I asked my EP about this two years ago and he didn't help. Just "a side-effect that's worth putting up with for the benefits of the medication".

My fingertips and then my whole hands turn blue!

I find that having a short break from things and giving my hands and arms a good workout (slap yourself on the back) for a minute helps to get the circulation going a bit better.

I have a finger-clip device that gives oxygen perfusion levels and it sometimes drops to 90% so I figured that a bit of exercise is what was was needed to improve circulation.

I also use the simple solution of just sitting on my hands to warm them up a bit ( I call it the hot-bot treatment).

I have a wheat bag that I put in the microwave for two minutes and then wrap it round my hands when they are starting to feel cold. I don't risk it when they are blue in case it causes chilblains.

Make your own wheatbag to suit your needs. A long, thin one is good because you can fold it over your hands/feet and warm both sides at once.

A suitable piece of quite thick cloth (old curtain etc) and some ( a kilo is enough) wheat that you can buy from most pet shops is all you need along with a needle and thread. Sew the material into an open ended bag shape and put enough wheat in to make it so that the bag can still be shaped round your hands/feet, then sew the open end up. Microwave it for three minutes the first time you use it and then two to three minutes after that. If you want it to smell nice put some lavender or similar in the bag with the wheat.

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Many thanks for your practical suggestions. I'll give them all a try. I'm especially grateful to you as your post reminded me that I do actually have a wheatbag that used to belong to my (deceased) mother stashed away somewhere. Can't think why I didn't think of that myself!

Carole

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Have cold feet and hands all the time even in summer. Unfortunately when cold weather I find cold everywhere. I take Flecanaide so different medication. Since so many of us have this problem maybe the AFib and not medication . Anyway, good excuse to get cozy in bed early during cold months.

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Thank you so much for all the suggestions posted. I've lots of things to try now and will post again to report back on what I try and what's worked for me.

What a wonderful place this Forum is with such helpful people here!

Carole

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The majority of it is probably down to our less than 100% conditions and the remainder is a contribution from the medicines.

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Hi Carole,

Apologies for the late reply ... been flat out at work.

Yes, been there, done that. It's been like that with my daily 5 mg Bisoprolol since I was put on it in Jan 2010 when diagnosed with AF.

My hands and feet go ice cold, sometimes my whole body too, to the extent I regard it as a preview of what it will be like to die. My strategy is simple, I check my heart rate which always to drops to around 46 bpm, go to bed with a hot, sweet, strong coffee and a hot water bottle. I hug the hot water bottle to my chest, then doze or even sleep for up to 4 hours ............. and wake up normal ! Mostly my heart rate is around 67 - 72 bpm, so its quite a drop. I might add that I have no other cardiac issues, other than pAF.

Can't say that my Consultant would approve, but it works. Combination of caffeine and heat I think.

In the early days when this would happen, I'd been known to go to bed with all that, plus glove and socks AND an electric blanket on.

John

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Oh my word! Happily my own problem (freezing hands - but just that) wouldn't seem to warrant such extreme measures. Just thinking about what you describe makes me feel cold though!

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Update.

After some hunting I have found my Mum's wheat bag. Yeah! It's a long narrow one divided into 3 sections (so the wheat doesn't all slip down to one end) and that has been good when not actually needing to use my hands as I can wrap it round them. Alternatively, when sitting down with the bag on my knee, I can pop one hand in there whilst I use the other one. Good when reading.

I visited several sports-type shops on Saturday but could only find liner gloves that were (a) too thick to do my craft activities and (b) were very expensive. However, I did buy a pack of surgical gloves in Boots (cheap) and these seem to do the trick in that I can wear them over the fingerless compression gloves I mentioned in my original message and - crucially - they are so thin that they don't interfere with sense of touch. Furthermore they protect the compression gloves; some of the things I do can be messy! The two types of glove together keep me a bit warmer and there's always the wheat bag to use for a while to warm up if need be.

Since the shopping trip I've found silk liner gloves on ebay (not too expensive) and have ordered a pair of those. I'm hoping I'll be able to wear the surgical gloves over them when crafting and if not, they'll be good under other gloves outdoors.

The back-slapping exercise philologus mentioned is also a great tip!

I hope my feedback proves helpful to others - and thanks once again to everyone who responded to my cri de coeur. If nothing else it reminded me, once again, that my own problems are as nothing when compared with some other members of this form.

Carole

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