November 27, 2018
Does even the thought of winter send a shiver down your spine? Most of us want to bundle up when the temperature drops—but if you are always turning up the thermostat or turning down the AC, there may be some good reasons.
The Huffington Post talked to experts and posted some advice on November 26. Do any of the following factors apply to you?
- Your thyroid is out of wack. Hypothyroidism—a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormone to regulate the body’s metabolism—can cause cold sensitivity, Chirag Shah, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and co-founder of Accesa Labs, a thyroid lab-testing service, told the online news outlet.
- You’re older: “The elderly [are] more prone to being cold because their metabolism is slower and they produce less heat,” said Marcelo Campos, an Internal Medicine physician at Atrius Health, a large nonprofit independent medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts. Another factor may be decreased muscle mass.
- It could be something you’re eating. Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, told HuffPost that certain foods may be to blame. “People who eat lots of water-dense, cold foods are going to feel cooler,” he said. Examples of these are smoothies, iced drinks and salads. To combat this, try switching to items like soups instead of smoothies, and stir-fry meals in lieu of salads.
- You’re anemic. Shah also said that iron deficiency anemia can definitely cause a person to feel frostier than usual—noting that iron is a mineral that is a key component of red blood cells. “Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot function properly and can lead to the sensation of feeling cold in addition to other symptoms,” Shah said. Other symptoms may include exhaustion, light-headedness, rapid heart beat, or shortness of breath.
- You’re pregnant. When you are carrying a baby, your body temperature rises, HuffPost reminds us. A pregnant woman’s normal core temperature rises from a norm of 6 degrees to around 100 degrees. “What’s more, pregnant women are prone to both anemia and poor circulation, especially in their legs. They are likely to complain about feeling a chill, especially in their hands and feet.
- You’re dehydrated. Carol Aguirre of Nutrition Connections, a nutrition counseling center in South Florida, said that water drives the metabolism by helping break down food, which creates energy and heat. “Not enough water slows your metabolism and prevents your body from making enough energy to keep you warm,” she said in an interview with the news site.
- It could be your hormones. According to the experts, estrogen generally dilates blood vessels—dissipating heat in the body. Progesterone has the opposite effect. For women, the time of month may affect how warm or cold they feel. In men, higher testosterone levels may reduce sensitivity to the cold by desensitizing one of the main cold receptors in the skin.
- You have poor circulation. If your hands and feet feel like ice but the rest of your body is comfortable, a circulation problem that keeps blood from flowing to your extremities might be to blame.
- You may be anxious. “People with anxiety usually feel cold more than others,” said Maryam Jahed, founder Airo Health, which makes an anxiety-tracking wearable device. When you experience anxiety, she told HuffPost, the feeling activates your amygdala ― the part of the brain responsible for protecting the body and responding to danger. “This makes your body put all of its reserves and energy into keeping you ‘safe,’” she said—and your extremities may feel colder, because it’s harder for the blood to circulate there and keep you warm.
- Your BMI is too low. Your body mass index affects whether you feel cold, but the amount of fat and muscle you have can also be a factor. “Muscles are metabolically more active and this generates more heat. Fat is an insulator and this can reduce the amount of heat you lose,” Campos said.
Research contact: @NicolePajer