It is normal to want to throw an extra layer and warm up when the temperature drops. But are you on the cold side all the time? Are you constantly fighting with your partner for the thermostat? Wear a jacket when your friends are comfortably rocking shirts? And continually plastered with goose bumps?
There are specific factors that can help explain why you are always so cold. Here are some explanations supported by experts, plus what you can do about it:
1. Your thyroid is out of control
Hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive, may be to blame, according to Chirag Shah, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and co-founder of Accesa Labs, a thyroid laboratory analysis service. While the gland is responsible for several metabolic processes, it is also involved with the regulation of temperature in the body.
"People with hypothyroidism often feel cold because they do not produce enough thyroid hormone. The result is that the metabolism slows down, resulting in a cold sensation, "Shah said.
2. you are older
"The elderly may be more likely to be cold because their metabolism is slower and produce less heat," said Marcelo Campos, an internal medicine physician at Atrius Health, a large independent nonprofit medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts. .
The normal functions of your body can also decrease as you get older.
"Studies show that from the age of 60 years, our bodies' ability to conserve heat decreases, which produces more cold sensation," said Dawne Kort, assistant physician and partner of CityMD, emergency care provider based in New York. And as you get older, you may experience a decrease in muscle mass, which can also contribute to this.
3. It could be something you're eating
Josh Ax, a clinical nutritionist and founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, said certain foods may be to blame.
"People who eat a lot of cold, dense food are going to feel cooler," he said. Examples of these are smoothies, frozen drinks and salads. To combat this, try switching to items like soups instead of shakes and sautéed foods instead of salads.
4. you are anemic
Shah said that iron deficiency anemia can definitely make a person feel colder than usual, and points out that iron is a mineral that is a key component of red blood cells.
"Red blood cells are important for transporting oxygen throughout the body. "Without enough iron, the red blood cells can not function properly and can cause the sensation of cold in addition to other symptoms," Shah said.
Additional signs of anemia include: feeling tired, dazed, experiencing a rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath.
Jacqueline Jacques, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Thorne Research, a nutritional supplement and home health testing brand, said anemia can also be caused by having low levels of B12. This can be a problem for vegetarians or vegans, since vitamin-rich foods include eggs, poultry, meat and dairy products.
5. are you pregnant
Generally, body temperature rises during pregnancy. Jacques said that the normal core temperature increases from 98.6 to around 100 when a woman carries a child.
"That said, pregnant women are more likely to have anemia and poor circulation, especially in the legs," he said. Therefore, pregnant women may occasionally complain of feeling like they have a chill, especially in their hands and feet.
6. You are dehydrated
Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a nutrition counseling center in South Florida, said water boosts metabolism by helping to break down food, which generates energy and heat.
"There is not enough water that slows your metabolism and prevents your body from producing enough energy to keep you warm," he said.
7. Could be your hormones.
According to experts, different hormones produced by men and women can affect body temperature.
For example, "estrogen generally promotes dilation of blood vessels, heat dissipation and reduction of body temperature," Kort said. "Progesterone, or progestins, generally has the opposite effect."
Because of this, depending on a woman's menstrual cycle and hormone levels, changes in body temperature and sensitivity to cold can occur. "In men, higher testosterone levels can reduce cold sensitivity by desensitizing one of the main cold receptors in the skin," Kort added.
8. Women tend to be colder than men.
A study conducted by the University of Utah found that women's hands tend to be colder than those of men. And according to Jacques, women are more prone to both anemia and hypothyroidism, which are linked to coldness.
9. You have bad circulation.
If your hands and feet feel like ice but the rest of your body is comfortable, a circulation problem that prevents blood from flowing to your extremities could be the culprit. Kort said that cardiovascular disease can be one of the causes.
"It's a sign that your heart is not pumping blood effectively or that a blockage of the artery could be preventing blood from reaching your extremities," he said. "Smoking can also cause circulation problems, since smoking contracts the blood vessels."
10. Your anxiety may be the culprit
"People with anxiety generally feel colder than others," said Maryam Jahed, founder and Chief Operating Officer of the portable anxiety tracking device Airo Health.
He added that this happens because when you experience anxiety, the sensation activates your amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for protecting the body and responding to danger. "This makes your body put all its reserves and energy to keep it" safe "," he said.
Jahed also said that this can make you feel cold because your body is concentrating on calming you down and, therefore, does not have enough blood flow to keep you warm. "That's why you usually feel colder on your limbs, it's harder for blood to get there and keep you warm," he said.
11. Your BMI is too low
Body mass index or weight affects if you feel cold, but the amount of fat and muscle you have are also important factors.
"The muscles are metabolically more active and this generates more heat. Fat is an insulator and this can reduce the amount of heat that is lost, "Campos said.
Conversely, rapid weight loss or a restricted diet may be to blame for feeling cold. Jacques said that since his body burns calories to generate heat, "when you restrict calories, you are literally reducing the fuel that keeps your body warm."
"In addition, our bodies are programmed to try to prevent hunger. If you severely restrict calories or reduce your weight too quickly, especially with crash diets or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, your body will try to prevent you from starving by lowering your metabolism, which means you are not burning as much energy , so you feel cold, "she said.
When to be worried
If you are tired and have less of a virus or are working too hard, you may feel cold as a temporary symptom that your body is too stressed. But if you notice that you are substantially cooler than the people around you on a regular basis, or if you have never felt cold and are now cold all the time, you should consult a doctor.
If you have a new symptom of coldness along with other symptoms such as weight gain or loss, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, hair loss, constipation or shortness of breath, you should consult a qualified health professional, Jacques said.
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