London: Cold hands and feet reflect a perfectly natural process by which the body keeps your vital organs safe and warm, researchers have revealed. The problem is that if you`re a woman, this happens much more easily and dramatically - we do feel the cold more, and it`s all down to hormones.All of us - men and women - feel cold when our skin gets cold. Thermo-receptor cells, less than a millimetre below the surface of the skin, are what cause us to experience changes in temperature, Michael Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth said.Normally, the skin is kept at a comfortable temperature thanks to blood pumping through the capillaries - tiny, branch-like blood vessels that make up our microcirculation.But when the thermo-receptors detect cold, they react by causing the capillaries to shut down, diverting blood flow - and warmth - to the heart, lungs and other internal organs. This process is called vasoconstriction.Incredibly, when we`re cold the amount of blood flowing into the skin in the extremities can become as low as 0.02 litre per minute (the maximum rate is two to three litres per minute).
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