In addition to being annoying, having a persistent cold might indicate a more serious ailment, such as hypothyroidism, vitamin deficiency, or a lack of sleep.
If you’re constantly shivering while everyone else claims to be warm, it’s time to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
Here are some reasons you may be chilly all the time and suggestions for resetting your faulty internal thermostat.
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1. Low Body Weight
It’s possible that being underweight—defined as a BMI of 18.5 or less—keeps you chilled.
Maggie Moon, RD, a Los Angeles–based dietitian, tells Health that being underweight means you don’t have enough body fat to keep you warm in cold weather.
In addition, a low BMI often indicates that a person is eating less. Your metabolism slows down if you don’t consume enough calories, and thus you don’t produce enough body heat.
If you are underweight, you may also have the following symptoms in addition to chills:
What to do about it: Talk to your doctor if you’re underweight, and they will do tests to find out what’s causing it. As a last resort, they may recommend gaining some weight by eating a diet high in protein, fat, and complex carbohydrate.
If you’re always chilly, you may have hypothyroidism, an internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City tells Health. “Always being cold is a clear indicator of hypothyroidism.”
Your metabolism slows down if you don’t have the correct amount of this hormone, stopping you from producing enough heat.
In the United States, around 4.5 percent of the population suffers from this illness, and the prevalence is greater among women who have just given birth or are over the age of 60. Hypothyroidism may also manifest as:
- Hair thinning or balding
- Itchy and flaky skin
- Phases that be longer or more intense
- Weight gain that doesn’t seem to be related
What to do about it: Your doctor may do an accurate blood test to determine that you have a thyroid issue and prescribe medication to treat it.
3. Anemia due to a shortage of iron
Chronic coldness is a frequent symptom of low iron levels. According to Dr. Phillips, this is because iron aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body, allowing it to generate heat.
Hypothyroidism, which further reduces your body’s ability to regulate its core temperature, may result from an iron shortage, making iron an essential nutrient.
Iron deficiency may cause a wide range of additional symptoms, including fatigue, muscle weakness, and anaemia.
- Skin that is light in color
- Cracked and brittle nails
- Difficulty staying focused
What to do about it: You’ll need to have a blood test done at your doctor’s office for an accurate diagnosis. Anemia may be treated by taking iron supplements, getting an IV infusion, or simply increasing your diet of iron-rich foods such as red meat, leafy greens, and eggs.
4. Circulation issues
You may be suffering from a circulation issue if your hands and feet are icy cold, yet you otherwise feel warm.
According to the National Institutes of Health, some 5 percent of the American population suffers from Raynaud’s illness or Raynaud’s phenomenon.
According to internist Margarita Rohr, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, this disorder causes the blood veins in your hands and feet to briefly contract when they experience cold.
In addition, Dr. Rohr points out that cardiovascular illness weakens the heart’s pumping ability, and smoking narrows the blood arteries.
What to do about it: The majority of Raynaud’s patients don’t need therapy, but for a small percentage, it may be necessary. Make an appointment with your primary care physician so that they may evaluate the source of your circulation issues and rule out anything more severe like cardiovascular disease.
If you’re having trouble warming up, you may be dehydrated and need to drink extra water. Moon explains that up to 60% of an adult’s body contains water and that water helps control body temperature.
“As long as you’re well-hydrated, water will help keep your body temperature stable by trapping heat and gently releasing it. A dehydrated body is more vulnerable to the effects of high or low temperatures.”
Dehydration may cause several additional symptoms, including:
- Dizziness or a feeling of numbness
- Muscle aches and pains
- Urine with a dark hue
What to do about it: Moon suggests that you drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but you should drink even more if you’re exercising or spending time in the sun.
6. Low Vitamin B12
Moon explains that anemia, which results in a constant feeling of coldness, might be caused by a lack of vitamin B12. In addition to the persistent chills, you may be suffering from a B12 shortage if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Hands, legs, and feet are tingling or numb.
- Tongue swelling and inflammation
- Find a solution to the challenge at hand.
- Loss of memory
What to do about it: According to Moon, it is uncommon for people who are vegan or vegetarian to have a B12 shortage since the mineral is nearly solely found in animal products. For this reason, vegans may want to consider taking a vitamin supplement. If this persists, see your physician, as it may indicate a problem with absorption.
7. Being a lady
No, I don’t have to fight with my brothers or coworkers about who gets to turn up or down the heat. Seems like having a cold is a very male experience.
Even though it may seem contradictory, Dr. Rohr argues that women are better at preserving heat than males because the female physiology ensures that essential organs like the brain and heart get enough blood flow.
As a result, you’ll find that your hands and feet are always chilly.
What to do about it: Socks and gloves are your best bet if you can’t turn up the heat in your home. Alternatively, you may get a little desk heater to keep you warm while you work.
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Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that destroys the nerves in your hands and feet if diabetes is not adequately controlled.
Numbness and occasionally discomfort in the hands and feet might occur, and since these nerves also carry temperature information to the brain, your hands and feet may feel chilly.
What to do about it: When it comes to diabetes, you may not know you have nephropathy since the disease progresses slowly. Diabetics should consult their doctor if they have frequent urination, tiredness, or a sense of being thirsty.
9. Low muscular mass
If your physician has concluded that you do not have an underlying medical issue, you may be chilly because of a lack of muscle mass.
Dr. Rohr explains that muscle produces heat to keep the body warm. Therefore a lack of muscular tone may cause a person to feel cold.
Because muscle mass increases your metabolic rate, it combats the sensation of perma-freeze.
What to do about it: You may develop muscle to fuel your furnace by using free weights or the weight room at the gym.
10. Lack of sleep
Dr. Phillips explains that sleep deprivation hurts your neurological system, which affects your body’s ability to regulate your temperature.
No one knows why, but not getting enough shut-eye causes your brain’s hypothalamus — which regulates your body’s temperature — to become less active.
Dr. Phillips explains that your metabolism slows down after you’ve had a sleepless night.
What to do about it: The suggested number of hours of sleep each night is seven to nine, so make sure you keep to a regular bedtime routine and turn off your electronic devices 30 minutes before sleep.