I’m a doctor – here are 10 reasons you’re always cold and when to get help

WE all have these friends who turn the heat on in the summer.

Some people “feel the cold” more than others — and if you are, it’s worth noting that there could be a serious cause.

If you're always cold, it can be worth seeing a doctor, especially if you have other symptoms

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If you’re always cold, it can be worth seeing a doctor, especially if you have other symptomsPhoto credit: Getty

dr Peter Bidey of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine told Good Housekeeping that the occasional freeze is nothing to worry about.

But when it starts interfering with your daily life — making you shake at your desk or having to sleep with an extra blanket in hot weather — it can be abnormal.

If you have other symptoms, such as tingling in your hands and feet, frequent trips to the toilet, or weight gain, there is even more cause for concern.

dr Bidey said: “If you’re feeling really tired on top of that [being cold]or if you notice changes in your hair, get short of breath or dizzy, start to have changes in your bowel habits, with a combination of feeling cold all over, you should probably see your doctor.

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Here are some of the underlying causes that might be responsible.

1. thyroid problem

The thyroid is a gland that sits in the neck. It produces hormones that affect heart rate and body temperature, among many other regulatory bodily functions.

When the thyroid is underactive and not producing enough key hormones, it can make you sensitive to the cold.

Other symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, muscle pain, dry skin, and brittle nails.

The NHS says: “The symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often similar to those of other conditions and usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.

“You should see a GP and get tested for an underactive thyroid if you have symptoms.”

2. lack of iron

We get iron from our diet, in foods like meat, dark leafy vegetables, and legumes.

When someone is low in iron, they can develop iron deficiency anemia, which means your body can’t make enough healthy red blood cells.

This can lead to cold hands and feet, but the more obvious signs are shortness of breath and fatigue.

Iron deficiency should be treated by your GP. So make an appointment if you think you may have symptoms, which may include pale skin, weakness, and palpitations.

3. drug

Medications are there to make us better, but most have side effects.

Some, like beta-blockers, can cause cold hands and feet, Dr. bidey

He said these drugs work by slowing your heart rate to keep it from pumping too hard and responding to adrenaline and other stress hormones.

The slowed frequency can make you feel cold and also make you dizzy, tired and nauseous.

It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about side effects from medications, as the dose or type of medication may need to be adjusted.

4. heart or circulatory condition

Many people suffer from heart or circulatory disease, but some go undiagnosed.

Cold feet can be a sign of an overlooked but serious condition called peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

It occurs when a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood flow to the legs.

“You’re a little more prone to a decrease in blood flow in certain areas,” said Dr. Bidey, and this causes coldness, numbness, or tingling in the hands, feet, or legs.

The NHS says people can confuse leg pain with getting older but should speak to their GP about it.

One of the most serious complications of PAD is critical limb ischemia, in which there is a risk of gangrene if there is severe blood deficiency in the legs.

This would require an urgent visit to the GP.

5. diabetes

Diabetes affects nearly five million Britons in the UK, with many more at risk.

It can take a while to get a diagnosis if you are unaware of the symptoms or if they are subtle.

The main symptoms include more frequent trips to the toilet, excessive thirst and fatigue.

Feeling cold is also a rarer sign of the condition — of which type 2 is the most common.

dr Bidey said, “If you have diabetes, it can affect your kidneys, circulatory system and things like that, which could be the reason you’re feeling cold.”

Kidney problems can trigger anemia associated with sensitivity to cold, and diabetes can cause nerve damage leading to cold feet.

6. underweight

If you have less body fat – either naturally, from weight loss or a medical condition – you may feel the cold more.

That being said, other worrying complications of being too skinny are fertility issues, nutritional deficiencies, and weakened bones and immune systems.

The NHS considers someone underweight if they have a BMI below 18.5 – you can measure your BMI with this calculator.

Experts warn that someone who complains about being cold sometimes has an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia.

7. Raynaud’s disease

It’s normal for fingers and toes to feel numb and cold in cold temperatures.

However, some people have an increased reaction to cold weather due to Raynaud’s disease, which causes the small arteries in the fingers to narrow and restrict blood flow.

People with the condition will notice their skin becoming paler in color, usually on the fingers and toes but sometimes on the nose, lips, ears and nipples.

Skin color will normalize once you warm up.

The NHS says there are things you can do yourself to help Raynaud, including wearing warm clothing in winter, exercise (to improve circulation) and eating a balanced diet.

But there are a few reasons you should see your GP, including if your symptoms aren’t improving, are interfering with your daily life, or are only affecting one side of the body.

8th. panic attack

Some people may not realize they’ve had panic attacks until a few have occurred.

The experience can be frightening, causing shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating, tremors, and dizziness.

A less common symptom of a panic attack is feeling cold, said Dr. Gary LeRoy, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

He said: “Sometimes people with panic attacks have this sense of impending doom because their heart isn’t beating efficiently.

“In its attempt to sustain itself, the body diverts blood to these vital organs at the expense of the peripheral areas of the body, and that’s where people sometimes get a trembling sensation.”

9. High age

dr LeRoy said if you’ve ever wondered why your grandma’s heater is always so high, it’s probably because her age makes her colder.

He said, “As we get older, things slow down and some of the core body temperature slowly goes down.”

As we age, the fatty tissue under the skin thins and blood vessels become less flexible, slowing blood flow around the body.

While sensitivity to cold increases with age, it must not always be considered normal

Conditions like diabetes, peripheral artery disease, and kidney disease—all of which can affect older people—can restrict blood flow and lower body temperature.

If you are constantly cold and also have tired, dizzy or other unusual symptoms, it is worth seeing a doctor.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5417102/why-always-feel-cold-when-see-doctor/ I’m a doctor – here are 10 reasons you’re always cold and when to get help

Sarah Y. Kim

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