8 Medical Reasons You’re Always Cold
Food & Health  
kingdemic

If you find yourself constantly reaching for a sweater, there may be a few strange reasons as to why you are feeling cold all the time.
 
Do you feel cold all the time – even when the central heating is on?
 

 

Do your hands and feet constantly feel like blocks of ice?
 
Do you get frustrated sitting there shivering away while your partner complains how hot they are?
 
The reality is that there are a whole host of issues that can lead to feelings of continual coldness, and in this guide we’ll look at some of the most common of these. We’ll also investigate some solutions that can help you to better tolerate the cold and feel more comfortable as a result.
 
 
 
How is Body Temperature Controlled?
 
Maintaining a suitable body temperature is critical to humans. The various chemical reactions that our body relies on operate best when kept warm. It has been estimated, therefore, that up to 40% of the calories we consume are burned by the body as fuel to keep us warm.
 
A range of different processes operate to help keep our body temperature within reasonable boundaries. This process is known to scientists as “thermoregulation”. At its simplest we can think of two different systems; firstly there is how much heat we produce in the first place, and secondly there is how quickly heat is lost from the body.
 
Your body temperature, however, is not uniform, with some areas remaining much warmer than others. Studies show that while the temperature in your core may only vary by some 3’C this variance can be as much as 30’C in fingers and toes. Therefore getting cold hands is not in your imagination; they really can get a lot colder than other parts of your body.
 
Our body temperature is regulated by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which acts as a thermostat. When you get too hot, the hypothalamus dilates blood vessels near the surface of the skin to release heat, making your skin appear flushed and sweaty. When you’re cold, the hypothalamus constricts these blood vessels to conserve heat, making your hands and feet feel cold. If too much heat is lost, then muscles spasm (shiver) to produce heat.
 
The hypothalamus also controls the thyroid gland, which is largely responsible for the process of metabolism – and hence how much heat is produced by your body. When either the thyroid gland functions less efficiently, or when circulation is compromised, you may feel cold all the time.
 
If you find yourself constantly reaching for a jumper or blanket, here are some common factors that might be throwing off your internal temperature…
 
1. Low Iron Levels
 
Iron is a critical part of the blood. It helps red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body, ensuring each cell can function properly. Equally, iron deficiency can impact this process, and it is believed that this can lead to feeling cold all the time.
 
Studies seem to suggest that an iron deficiency affects thermoregulation in two different ways. Firstly, a lack of iron impacts the thyroid, making it less effective at generating the heat that your body needs. Alongside this, however, it also affects circulation. When your blood does not contain enough iron then it is harder for your cells to get the oxygen that they need. Blood flow can therefore increase to counteract this issue, but in doing so more warmth is lost as more hot blood flows near the surface of the skin.
 
 
 

 

A scientific study aimed to identify the relationship between iron levels and body temperature. They recruited women suffering from anaemia and then monitored their core body temperature when sat in a cold bath. The participants were then provided with an iron supplement in order to alleviate their anaemia, and the experiment was carried out again.
 
The women experienced considerable improvements in body temperature after supplementation when compared to the anaemic situation. As they summarised; “this experiment demonstrates a functional consequence of iron-deficiency anaemia in the balance of heat production and loss”.
 
Women of childbearing age are particularly prone to iron deficiency due to the monthly menstrual cycle and may find that feelings of coldness intensify each month with the loss of blood. Other symptoms to watch out for include pale skin, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and an irregular heartbeat.

 
 


 
 


 
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