Why am I freezing all the time?
Every body's reaction to cold is slightly different - some people freeze more often/are more sensitive to cold than others. It is called cold intolerance.
Women tend to freeze more than men, because they have a lower metabolic rate at rest, and therefore the body naturally produces less energy (body heat).
But if you are freezing all the time, even in warm rooms, there may be something wrong with your health.
Constant feeling of cold
If you are constantly freezing, in addition to feeling cold, the following symptoms are also possible:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet, fingers, and toes;
- Frequent chills;
- Stiffness in your limbs;
- Extremely cold hands and feet;
- Discomfort at a temperature that others find comfortable;
If the cause of freezing is related to health problems, some additional symptoms are also possible, which we will consider below.
Causes of constant feeling of cold
A constant feeling of cold can occur for several reasons. Often we perceive the symptoms of frostbite as nothing more than a minor nuisance, but in some cases, they may indicate a serious illness.
Anemia occurs when your body cannot produce enough red blood cells, which leads to a decrease in the ability of the blood to carry oxygen (supply the body with oxygen).
Anemias of various types affect 10-25 percent of people, mostly women, and chills are a common symptom in most cases.
The most common type of anemia is iron deficiency anemia (in 90 cases out of 100), which develops when the body does not have enough iron, which is necessary for the synthesis of healthy red blood cells.
The most common causes of iron deficiency are:
- Insufficient nutrition;
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD);
- Blood loss;
Symptoms of anemia depend on the underlying cause, but often include:
- Chest pain.
- Cold hands and feet;
- Lack of breath;
- Pale skin.
With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, which, in turn, affects the rate of carbohydrate and fat metabolism, regulation of body temperature, protein synthesis, and heart rate.
It is believed that 4.3 - 8.5 percent of people have mild hypothyroidism and are more likely to diagnose it in women.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism vary but usually include:
- Dry skin;
- Weight gain.
Atherosclerosis is one of the most common chronic vascular diseases — when your blood vessels narrow (mainly due to the deposition of cholesterol). Atherosclerosis can cause very dangerous diseases, such as thrombosis, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
There are several types of atherosclerosis, the feeling of cold is most often caused by the narrowing of the peripheral arteries, which results in reduced blood flow to your arms and legs (also to your organs and head).
Other possible symptoms include:
- Pain, numbness and cramps in the legs, buttocks and feet;
- Weak pulse in legs and feet;
- Slow healing of wounds on legs and feet;
- Bluish skin color;
- Reduced hair growth on the legs;
- Decreased toenail growth.
Raynaud's disease (also called Raynaud's syndrome or Raynaud's phenomenon) is a rare disease that causes the narrowing of blood vessels - usually in the fingers and toes - as a result of cold or stress.
As a result of the narrowing of blood vessels, blood supply is temporarily limited, and the affected area may become pale or bluish. There is also a feeling of cold. When the blood flow normalizes, the affected area turns red and pulsation is felt.
There are two main types of Raynaud's syndrome:
- Raynaud's syndrome of the first degree. Its cause is unknown. It usually manifests itself in a mild form and in most cases, people do not seek medical help. It is believed that Raynaud's syndrome of the first degree affects mainly women, mainly aged 15 to 30 years;
- Raynaud's syndrome of the second degree can occur as a result of an injury or other health problem. This type of syndrome is less common, its signs and symptoms usually appear at the age of about 40 years.
Raynaud's syndrome is more common in:
- People who are over 30 years old;
- People living in cold climates;
- People with a family history of Raynaud's syndrome.
The feeling of cold is caused by kidney and blood circulation disorders. If left untreated, diabetes can also cause nerve damage that can cause cold sensations, especially in the feet.
The feeling of cold is more often caused by type 2 diabetes.
Other symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination;
- Strong thirst or hunger;
- Blurred vision;
- Weight loss for no apparent reason;
- Slow wound healing.
Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system - damage to the nerves of the legs and arms.
If your hands or feet are cold but not cold to the touch, this may be a symptom of peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes is a common cause of this disease, but it can also develop as a result of infections, liver or kidney diseases, vitamin deficiencies, or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of one's weight.
Although in most cases people with anorexia may have abnormally low body weight, not all people with this eating disorder look gaunt and bony.
The symptoms of anorexia nervosa are as follows:
- Extreme weight loss;
- Growth of soft body hair;
- Thinning hair on the head;
- Infrequent or interrupted menstruation;
- Dry or yellowed skin;
- Low blood pressure;
- Irregular heartbeat;
As well as emotional and behavioral symptoms such as:
- Expressed fear of weight gain;
- Intense desire to exercise;
- Social distancing.
Low body weight
If your body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 – you are underweight. This usually means that the body fat layer is too thin and cannot store heat efficiently enough.
Low body weight can be caused by:
- Dietary habits and lifestyle;
- Weakened immune system;
- Fertility problems, especially in women.
Poor blood circulation
Poor blood circulation means that blood flow to the arms and legs decreases. Poor blood circulation is usually associated with other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Possible signs are:
- Tingling and numbness in hands and feet;
- Joint pain;
- Muscle cramps.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur if you don't get enough of it with food or if your body can't absorb it.
Vitamin B12 deficiency most commonly affects people who:
- Follows a vegan diet;
- Are 50 years of age or older;
- Have undergone gastrointestinal surgery;
- Have other digestive problems.
Symptoms are usually as follows:
- Constipation or diarrhea;
- Lack of breath;
- Loss of appetite;
- Pale appearance;
- Loss of balance;
- Tingling and/or numbness in hands and feet;
Complications caused by medication
Constantly feeling cold can also occur as a side effect of medications (beta blockers) that treat high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions.
Other possible side effects of beta blockers include:
Other medications can also make you feel cold, including:
- Medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (Adderall);
- Migraine medications containing ergotamine;
- Decongestants, including pseudoephedrine.
It should be added here that the side effects of medications are most likely not the main reason for your constant feeling of cold.
Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep can have a devastating effect on our nervous system, causing brain dysfunction.
Although it has not yet been studied exactly how this process works, studies confirm that the quality of sleep significantly affects both our nervous system and body temperature.
The body needs enough water to function properly.
If there is not enough water in our body, our blood vessels narrow in order to keep water in the body and, as a result, blood circulation deteriorates, which in turn causes increased sensitivity to cold.
Read more about the importance of water in our body HERE.
At first, it may seem that alcohol warms because it dilates blood vessels, including small capillaries under the surface of the skin. The feeling of warmth is the result of blood flow to our skin.
That is, body heat is conducted closer to the surface, causing faster heat loss, and even though you feel warm, your body loses heat much faster than usual. In cold weather, it can cause hypothermia.
Alcohol also suppresses the part of the brain that regulates our body temperature.
What to do?
You can keep warm by wrapping yourself in a blanket, wearing wool socks, or increasing the temperature in the room.
However, if the cause of freezing is not eliminated, the effect will be small.
Therefore, try to eliminate the root causes:
- If you think that the cause could be lack of sleep - go to bed earlier;
- If you think that the cause could be anemia or lack of nutrients - try to change your eating habits and eat a balanced diet.
- Organize your life to reduce stress - both at work and at home;
- Make sure you drink enough fluids. Drink herbal teas and eat foods with high water content, such as watermelons, melons, and apples...
- Be physically active as exercise improves blood circulation. And also warms -😊
- If you think that the cause could be the medications you are taking - talk to your doctor.
Treatment of constant feeling of cold
If the above tips do not help, consult your doctor.
Possible treatment methods could be the following:
- Anemia. You may need to make only a few changes to your diet. Maybe you will need to take additional iron-containing dietary supplements.;
- Hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone replacement is usually prescribed;
- Atherosclerosis. In mild cases, the best medicine is lifestyle changes – a healthy, balanced diet and physical activity;
- Raynaud's syndrome. Symptoms can be reduced by changing the lifestyle – increasing physical activity and reducing stress;
- Diabetes. Blood sugar levels can be very well controlled with a balanced diet and exercise. In some cases, you may need medications such as insulin;
- Anorexia nervosa. This condition requires treatment under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Treatment usually involves both therapy and dietary changes. Severe anorexia may require inpatient treatment;
- Low body weight. Most likely, you need the help of a nutritionist - a personalized diet plan that would ensure weight gain. And – regular physical activities;
- Poor blood circulation. Treatment usually involves treating the underlying cause, but compression stockings can also be very helpful;
- B12 deficiency. Changing dietary habits to include more animal products such as meat, fish and dairy products. If you are a convinced vegan - use nutritional supplements;
- Complications caused by medication. Your treating physician may provide instructions on adjusting the dose or prescribe alternative medications;
- Dehydration. Drink more water if you do active sports - sports drinks, which contain electrolytes (preferably with low sugar content).
If you are constantly freezing, you may have a lower resistance to cold. However, it is always recommended to consult a doctor, as the feeling of cold can also signal very specific health problems.
Most of the symptoms can be effectively reduced quite simply by changing your lifestyle and eating habits.
Or complicated - doing nothing, complaining and taking pills -😊
Be active, healthy and eat delicious!
Perception of cold hands: comparison between women and men
Cold sensitivity and associated factors
Sex differences in metabolic homeostasis, diabetes, and obesity
Raynaud's Disease and Raynaud's Syndrome
What Is Peripheral Artery Disease?
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