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This May Be Why You Always Feel Cold

  • Category: LiveSmart
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  • Written By: Baldwin

Woman on a couch bundled up with a winter hat and blanket

Can't warm up no matter what you do? These conditions may be causing your cold sensitivity.

Do you always feel like you need to throw on another sweater or cuddle under a blanket? Do you find yourself feeling cold even when everyone around you is nice and toasty? If so, you may simply be more sensitive to cold temperatures than most people. But if you often feel cold, it may also be a sign of an underlying health issue.

Not sure why you can't warm up? Here are 6 things that may be to blame:

  1. Anemia – One common symptom of anemia is being cold, which occurs because you don't have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. You may also have symptoms such as pale skin, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness or an irregular heartbeat. A simple blood test is all that is needed to check for anemia. If you have it, treatment typically involves making dietary changes or taking supplements so you get more of the nutrients you are lacking, such as iron, folate or vitamin B12.
  2. Circulatory Issues – If you have a problem with your circulation, you may be more sensitive to cold, especially in your hands and feet. Some types of circulation problems that increase cold sensitivity include Raynaud's syndrome and peripheral artery disease. Your doctor can check for these conditions and can recommend treatment and lifestyle changes if it is found that you have them.
  3. Thyroid – If your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, it may leave you feeling more sensitive to the cold because the thyroid helps regulate body temperature and metabolism. A simple blood test can check the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. If your thyroid is underactive, treatment consists of medication to replace the missing hormones.
  4. Diabetes – One symptom of diabetes is that you feel cold. This may be due to issues affecting circulation and kidney function. Over time, uncontrolled diabetes may also result in nerve damage that occurs primarily in your hands or feet (peripheral neuropathy), which can make your extremities feel especially cold, tingly or numb.
  5. Underweight – If you are underweight, you may feel cold because body fat helps insulate you from the cold. Gaining some weight may help you better tolerate the cold, but there are some conditions which may make it difficult to increase your body mass index (BMI), such as having inflammatory bowel disease, cancer or an eating disorder.
  6. Fatigue – If you don't get enough sleep or get good quality sleep, you may find you feel colder than usual. While being tired isn't a health condition in and of itself, poor sleep can contribute to many health issues so it should not be ignored. The solution is to figure out what's causing your lack of sleep and to take steps to improve your sleep habits. This may be easier said than done, but it is worth doing for better health.

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Date Last Reviewed: November 17, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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