Feeling cold is a symptom which can signify different causes. While, feeling chilly in many cases is usually nothing to worry about, most of the time, it turns out to indicate a health problem. Here are 9 possible reasons for you to explore and perhaps to have a talk with your doctor.
- You are too thin. Body fat acts as insulation. If your body max index is around 18.5 or under, there are few calories for the body to burn for heat. This slows down the metabolism as the body begins to reserve calories and you feel cold more intensely.
- Your thyroid is underactive. Feeling cold all the time can be a sign that you have thyroid problems. When thyroid hormones are working properly, they assist cells in metabolizing food for energy, creating 65% energy and 35% heat. It is this heat that maintains the body temperature. But when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, the metabolism slows down, preventing the body from producing adequate heat and making you feel cold all the time. Other than increased sensitivity to cold, an underactive thyroid can cause symptoms like excessive tiredness, dry skin, thinning hair, muscle aches, mood changes and absentmindedness.
- You may not have enough energy. Our bodies are designed to handle stress from time to time, but there are reserves to it. We cannot deal with high levels of stress for long periods of time without a break. When we have to resist stress for too long, our body simply runs out of energy it needs to cope with everyday functions, including maintaining normal body temperature. To aggravate the problem, you may not be eating properly and not getting enough sleep. Studies show that lack of sleep disrupts skin thermoregulation, increasing heat loss from the feet and reducing heat loss from the hands.
- You have anemia. Iron deficiency or anemia leads to low red blood cells count. This results in poor circulation and causes inadequate oxygen supply to bodily tissues. The body redirects blood supply to vital organs, consistently making circulation to the extremities suffer.
- You don’t get enough vitamin B12. Along with iron, vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in production of red blood cells. Therefore, deficiency of vitamin B12 caused either by poor diet or absorption issues may result in persistent feeling of cold.
- You are dehydrated. Water helps regulate body temperature. When you are adequately hydrated, water traps heat and releases it slowly, maintaining a comfortable body temperature. Water also helps power the metabolism, whereas slow metabolism accounts for less overall body heat.
- You have diabetes. Diabetes can cause nerve damage, with nerves in the lower extremities being affected most often. You might have a feeling of numbness, coldness and sometimes pain in the hands and feet as a result. Kidney damage caused by uncontrolled diabetes can also leave you feeling cold all the time.
- You have Raynaud’s disease. The disease occurs when arteries and blood vessels go into vasospasm due to strong emotions or cold temperatures. This impedes blood flow to the nose, ears, fingers and toes, which first turn white, then blue and as blood flow returns may turn red and then back to normal color.
- You smoke. Besides causing damage to blood vessel walls, nicotine accelerates the heart rate, raises blood pressure and constricts blood vessels, limiting the amount of blood and oxygen circulating around the body. Hence smokers always have the cold hands and feet sensation.