Why am I cold all the time?

Howard E. Lewine, MD
Hospitalist
Many people feel cold when others around them are comfortable. But the intensity of your symptoms seems to be more extreme. I would definitely suggest a visit with your doctor.

Here are some of the more common reasons for feeling cold:
  • Low body weight: Both fat thickness and muscle mass help us keep warm. Muscle activity generates heat and fat acts as insulation. If you have lost a lot of weight recently or you have always been thin, you might be sensitive to colder temperatures that would be comfortable for most people.
  • Skipping meals: Some people get cold when they skip meals or take in too few calories. The body conserves energy and produces less heat in response to fasting.
  • Being overly tired: Not getting enough sleep and feeling tired all the time may be making you feel cold.
  • An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): Feeling cold can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. You can get a simple blood test for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to see if you have this problem.
  • Low red blood cell count (anemia): Anemia can cause a person to feel colder than other people in the same room. But it would be unusual for it to cause the extreme cold feeling you describe. Again, it's easy to check for anemia with a simple blood test.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon: Our normal response to cold temperatures is to move blood away from the skin to keep our internal organs warm. In people with Raynaud's phenomenon, that natural response is extreme. The tiny blood vessels get severely narrowed. And blood flow to the skin drastically drops, most often in the fingers and toes. One or more digits turn white or blue, temporarily. People with this condition tend to be much more sensitive to even minor drops in temperature than other people. Along with wearing gloves and thick socks, they need to keep their core body temperature up by wearing lots of layers of clothing.

Harvard Medical School Thyroid Disease: Understanding hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

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Harvard Medical School Thyroid Disease: Understanding hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

Would you know it if your thyroid gland slowed production of thyroid hormone? Or if it sped up? The symptoms are hard to spot. An out-of kilter thyroid gland causes a variety of puzzling symptoms and...
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Watch as I reveal the reason why some people are freezing all the time. Learn what gland works with the brain to regulate body temperature in this video.
 

Continue Learning about Thyroid

Thyroid

A member of our endocrine system, the thyroid gland produces hormones that help control many of our body functions, such as weight and temperature.Located at the base of our neck, this butterfly-shaped gland makes several hormones...

, which are collectively known as thyroid hormones. These hormones are especially key in the brain development of infants and children. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the primary hormone secreted by the thyroid gland; this hormone helps control our metabolism, a chemical process that turns our food into energy. A lack of iodine in your food can cause the thyroid to swell, a condition called a goiter. Several other disorders and diseases can affect this gland, including cancer. If you notice swelling in your neck or feel a lump, make sure you see your doctor; this could indicate a problem with this important gland.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.