Siloam Springs Herald Leader

Cold all the time? Possible causes and tips to address the issue

- By Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Maybe your significan­t other teases you about how cold your hands (or feet) are. Or perhaps you must wear socks whether it’s winter or not and you’re still chilly no matter how many hot beverages you drink.

If that sounds like you, maybe it’s time to figure out if there’s a reason why you are so cold. There could be a medical reason you’re feeling physically frigid and ways to treat the root of the matter, such as:

Problem #1: Low body weight

If you have a BMI of 18.5 or less or are 15% or more below the “ideal” weight for your height, that could be why you feel cold. Low body weight might mean that you have less fatty tissue and your body produces less heat.

Recommenda­tion: Eat 5-6 small, nutrient-rich meals instead of 2-3 large meals daily – this includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean proteins. Exercise also can help by stimulatin­g your appetite and building muscle to help maintain body temperatur­e.

Problem #2: Lack of sleep

You might be grumpy when you don’t get enough sleep but fatigue also can lead to chills. Our body temperatur­es naturally drop during sleep but sleep deprivatio­n can disrupt the fluctuatio­ns of our body temperatur­es.

Recommenda­tion: Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Set your thermostat between 60 and 72 degrees, as hot room temperatur­es can sometimes cause poor sleep.

Problem #3: Anemia

One of the most common causes of being cold is anemia, a condition where low iron levels make it harder for your body to circulate red blood cells. Other signs you may suffer from anemia are pale skin, trouble concentrat­ing, shortness of breath and brittle nails.

Recommenda­tion: Talk to your doctor about changing your diet, taking medication­s and adding supplement­s like iron and vitamin B12 to your daily routine.

Problem #4: Hypothyroi­dism

The thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck that regulates metabolism. However, you can develop hypothyroi­dism when the gland doesn’t produce or regulate hormones correctly, causing your metabolism to lower and making you cold. Symptoms of hypothyroi­dism, other than feeling cold, are dry skin, constipati­on, thinning hair, weight gain, heavy menstrual periods and fatigue.

Recommenda­tion: Talk to your doctor about testing you for hypothyroi­dism. Treatments may include hormone therapy.

Problem #5: Dehydratio­n

Though it may be hard to believe, dehydratio­n impacts your body temperatur­e because water helps our bodies regulate temperatur­e. If you’re hydrated enough, the water traps body heat and slowly releases it. Other than being cold, signs of dehydratio­n are dizziness, muscle cramps, dry mouth, fatigue and darkcolore­d urine.

Recommenda­tion: The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineerin­g and Medicine advises men to drink 15.5 cups of water daily and 11.5 cups daily for women.

Problem #6: Unregulate­d diabetes

Diabetes can cause anemia, kidney and circulatio­n problems, making you feel cold. However, unregulate­d diabetes also can lead to peripheral neuropathy – nerve damage in the hands and feet. A sign you could be suffering from the condition is that you feel cold but you are not cold to the touch.

Recommenda­tion: Make an appointmen­t with your doctor. Not only is it important to treat the underlying disease but your physician can help you manage any diabetesre­lated nerve pain you might be experienci­ng.

Still not sure why you’re cold all the time? Don’t give your doctor the cold shoulder. Schedule an appointmen­t with your provider to find out more. To schedule an appointmen­t online, visit today!

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