View Full Version : Why am I always cold?

09-21-2007, 10:48 AM
Is anyone out there 'always cold' like me? When everyone is wandering around in tee shirts I seem to need a technical baselayer and a tee on top (with long sleeves.) I always have to take spare clothes - which is a right pain.

Recently I went for a check up and doc said - 'Doing well - oh, hang on a minute your cholesterol reading is blipping' and peering into the screen she said Oh! - its lower than normal!

My thinking is that I have inadequate fat in the blood maybe that is whats making me permanently cold.

In addition I can't take real heat! I have to run away and hide in the shade once its in the 80s!

I get very fed up with all this as it makes me feel I can't join in with some activities unless I take a truck load of spare gear (which adds to the weight!)

I am light and skinny with a kind of Scandinavian skin (pale and easily burned) and build, and I eat a diet of wholefoods, never drink tea or coffee or eat red meat.

Any comments and ideas gratefully received!

09-21-2007, 11:40 AM
I'm freezing all the time, too! I don't have an explanation or advice, but I'm right with you, sister!

I'm also thin, fair skinned, with low cholesterol, and low blood pressure, too. I also don't eat red meat or poultry, just a little fish now and then.

I remember when I was a teenager and I ate everything, and was overweight, I was also always cold. This leads me to believe that for me, it's not diet related. I wonder if it could be a circulatory issue?

09-21-2007, 11:47 AM
I have no idea as I am always cold as well, BUT I am thin, olive-skinned, low blood pressure, and HIGH CHOLESTEROL despite plenty of exercise and adherence to a non-processed/whole foods diet with olive oil, fish, and ground flax seed as my primary sources of fat.

My mother and grandmother were always cold and diagnosed with low thyroid. Supposedly, my thyroid is fine though.

I don't understand your intolerance to heat - you say you are ALWAYS cold, but have to find shade in the 80's. Do you mean that you are NOT cold once it hits 80 degrees? I am able to tolerate heat into the 100's and continue to wear long pants and long sleeves in that weather (I never bare my arms and legs in public - not even on the bike).

Hope you find some answers!

09-21-2007, 11:51 AM
I am another always cold and can't take the heat.
I have noticed that since i have gotten fitter, I can handle more heat
and cold now.

If I am in lower temps (below 60) and am inactive, i get miserable fast.
As long as I can stay moving, i can handle it now.

I also used to get really painful ears in the cold (50-60 degrees). THAT has also vanished.

09-21-2007, 11:58 AM
You're all thin. You don't have enough insulation.
Have some candy corn.

09-21-2007, 12:08 PM
Borderline anemia???? Many docs underdiagnose this in women, figuring that it's just a byproduct of menstruation.

09-21-2007, 12:18 PM
No anemia. I think it has to do with being thin.
I remember a lab we did in Bio 101 that involved a mouse. The point of the experiment being how smaller things tended to have colder body temps.
I felt terrible about what we had to do to the mouse even though it wasn't harmed.

09-21-2007, 12:39 PM
no anema here either.
i think thin is what it is/was. I'm less thin now that i have more muscle mass.

09-21-2007, 01:16 PM
Another one here. Mostly I have trouble if I'm less active, although once I get cold, I will not warm up no matter what I do, short of a total immersion hot bath. I have a terrible time at seminars where they tend to set the AC at 70F or below - my thumbs and fingers get numb and painful. Before we started flying south for the winters, my toes would be blue (literally) from December through April.

Same thing with the heat (95F and above) - difficult and dangerous for me on the motorcycle (moderate exertion), have to wear a cooling vest; no real problem on the bicycle. Hydration has a lot to do with that, I know - I get dehydrated very, very easily to the point where I can't absorb plain water and have to drink hydration solutions - but I really don't think that's all that's going on, considering I have trouble with the cold, too.

Faulty thermostat, is all. Someone told me once that the kidneys are the thermostat of the body; I have no idea whether that's true or not.

09-21-2007, 01:34 PM
Ain't nothing wrong with calling a space heater your best friend, IMHO. :)

-- gnat! (they don't take hugs well, however)

09-21-2007, 03:26 PM
Thin is definitely what it is for me, especially when I was cutting back on calories to lose weight on a getting thin frame. Last I was at that point not so long ago I had low cholesterol, normal to low blood pressure and a resting heart rate of 35-40.

Right now I am not thin, not cutting calories and not cold.

Heat, on the other hand, only bothers me when I'm not thin. Like now. Too many candy corns. :D

09-21-2007, 05:49 PM
I'm often cold when other people aren't. In the 80s and 90s, I'll be happy and comfy, and everyone else will want to kill me because I'm bouncing. Doesn't matter how thin or fat I am. Hydration does matter, because I lose a lot of heat tolerance when dehydrated. If I feel cold, I put on a sweater or a hat. If I feel hot, I drink more water or put on a hat. Hats are lovely things for temperature control.

So I tend to figure I'm just an oddball who likes to be a bit warmer than average. It doesn't take much forethought for me to be comfortable and stay comfortable.

It's not unusual for people to be sensitive to cold *and* sensitive to heat. If it's not causing serious trouble (and no, packing a light jacket in the summer doesn't count as serious trouble), I wouldn't worry about it. If it's to the point where things like layering, wearing a hat, and drinking plenty of fluids don't solve things, you may have a problem. If you've got a history of hypothermia or hyperthermia, then you've got an easy explanation. Once you've had some form of trouble with your internal thermostat, it's much easier to have trouble again. Lots of other possible medical explanations, but very often it is just your body doesn't take extremes well.

09-21-2007, 05:52 PM
I am another always cold and can't take the heat.
I have noticed that since i have gotten fitter, I can handle more heat
and cold now.

If I am in lower temps (below 60) and am inactive, i get miserable fast.
As long as I can stay moving, i can handle it now.

I also used to get really painful ears in the cold (50-60 degrees). THAT has also vanished.

Me too Mimi, I can handle more heat and cold now. And I don't get the earaches I used to get when I first started biking.

I dress in layers at work because I can go from freezing to sweating in a matter of minutes. If I'm not moving, I get really cold, but as soon as I start walking around, I have to peel off the layers.

09-21-2007, 07:13 PM
Hot flashes are great for warming me right up!:D

09-21-2007, 07:34 PM
and I think we have our answer.

Moptop is always cold because she's in the UK ;) :p

09-22-2007, 12:51 PM
And she lives in a place (region??) called Snowdonia too!

Seriously I was always a really warm heat-emitter till I got too cold for too long and too often when messengering in London. The next 25 years I was cold if the temp dropped below 25 deg C. Then suddenly I returned to My Former Heat-Emitting self...(last summer).
No changes in diet (I'm a vego), a bit of up and down in weight with pregnancies and chemo and stresses, but nothing of clinical proportions

As they say Go figger

09-22-2007, 01:20 PM
And the latest theory (guess) is...


• Body Temperature
• Emotions
• Hunger
• Thirst
• Circadian Rhythms
The hypothalamus is composed of several different areas and is located at the base of the brain. Although it is the size of only a pea (about 1/300 of the total brain weight), the hypothalamus is responsible for some very important functions. One important function of the hypothalamus is the control of body temperature. The hypothalamus acts as a "thermostat" by sensing changes in body temperature and then sending signals to adjust the temperature. For example, if you are too hot, the hypothalamus detects this and then sends a signal to expand the capillaries in your skin. This causes blood to be cooled faster. The hypothalamus also controls the pituitary.



09-26-2007, 11:02 AM
oh geez. You should have said! When I lived in the UK I was always cold - and what is up with the radiator thing? Never warm enough.

Move to a warm climate. And eat more candy corn.

Yeah, that's the ticket ;)

09-26-2007, 11:34 AM
I am another always cold and can't take the heat.
I have noticed that since i have gotten fitter, I can handle more heat
and cold now.

If I am in lower temps (below 60) and am inactive, i get miserable fast.
As long as I can stay moving, i can handle it now.

I also used to get really painful ears in the cold (50-60 degrees). THAT has also vanished.

I am the same as Mimi. I'm 53 and was cold all my life. 2 years ago I began exercising (walking and biking) regularly for the first time in my life. I don't get cold nearly as much anymore, whether I am inside or outside. I think my circulation has improved and warm blood gets everywhere in my body more efficiently now than it used to. People don't shake my hand and exclaim "Oh what cold hands you have!" anymore. :)

09-26-2007, 12:04 PM
Just like a house, what makes a person feel warm or cold depends on two things; insulation and the furnace. Obviously, if you have less insulation [fat]you lose heat faster. But even with little insulation you can maintain body temperature by revving up the furnace. The body's furnace is metabolism which is dependent on cellular activity, particularly in the muscles. Exercise helps. Metabolism relies on fuel so keeping warm also depends on supplying adequate fuel to the metabolic engine. I would try eating snacks frequently throughout the day, trail mix works well for this. You want something with some high caloric density so that you can eat a little bit and still get 100 to 200 calories. This might mean you need to change your lunch and dinner habits to keep from gaining excessive fat if this concerns you.

Other factors that affect metabolism include hormonal levels, muscle bulk and fluid balance. If it's a concern have your hormones checked, particularly thyroid. Also you should build muscle with resistance exercise and make sure you're well hydrated.

Another reason why it's important enough is the necessity of caloric intake in maintaining metabolic hormone levels. When a person eats less than 80% of their required daily intake, [taking into account exercise], their metabolic hormone levels drop off significantly.

As for being able to handle heat, this also depends on insulation and fluid balance.

Hope this helps.

09-26-2007, 05:27 PM
Brrr! I just put a sweater on because I was cold!! I've always been one who preferred hot weather. Give me 80's-90's and I am happy. 60's-70's, ok. Anything below that, I start adding layers of clothing. I've always felt that I live for summer and survive the rest of the year. I was hoping as I got older, due to hot flashes and hormonal changes, that I would be warmer? No, didn't really help. I may have a few moments of heat now and then, but generally, I'm on the cool side. I'm NOT thin. I'd say I am average. I am active, so I have to assume my metabolism is at least average, if not on the active side of the scale. As long as I am moving, I can keep warm. Sitting still, as now when I'm on the computer, I am cool --> cold. I don't understand it and probably never will.


Oh - I LOVE candy corn! But it doesn't keep me warm. Neither do circus peanuts, and I LOVE those, too! Now hot cocoa with marshmallows floating - that's the ticket!!

09-27-2007, 11:03 AM
I'm usually either too cold or too hot. My comfort range is very narrow. But I would rather deal with the cold and add layers than be hot. If it's too hot indoors I get nauseous, and outdoors I just get pissy. I used to live in AZ, and you could not pay me to live there again. Anyway, I feel generally cold pretty easily, but the worst of it is my extremities. (And I eat enough candy corn, I'm at the very top of the range of "healthy" BMI). My DH is always shocked at how cold my hands and feet get during the winter. The worst is in the mornings when driving to work. Even with down/thinsulate mittens on, my fingers are freezing, so cold it's painful. I have to start wearing fleece gloves when it gets below about 55. If it's too cold inside at work, my fingertips start turning purple and my hands get so stiff I can barely type.

The older I get, the more I exercise, and yet the colder my hands and feet get. I was at my chiropractor's office this spring and there was a poster outlining symptoms of people with problems of various systems. One was the thyroid and so many of the symptoms rang true with me. I talked to my best friend about it, who is a Doctor of Osteopathy, she said people with borderline thyroid problems often benefit from iodine supplements, helps boost their metabolism and regulate their systems. I was just looking into iodine supplements when I got pregnant, figured I'd hold off on them until post pregnancy.

One other tip, I've heard that taking cayenne pepper supplements can help improve circulation and therefore make your extremities warmer. I tried this briefly, but my stomach couldn't handle the pepper (and there are very few things my stomach can't handle in the way of food).

A couple of my favorite tips for warming up:
Drink a hot beverage (duh).
Run hands under warm/hot water.
Throw clothes in dryer for a few minutes, then take them out and put them on immediately.
Stand in front of fire place (but we don't have one at home, so I do it when I can).
Stand on top of heating register so that heat goes up flannel pj pants.
Use hair dryer to send warm air up back of shirt (aaaah, love this one before getting into bed). :)

Oh, and those chemical hand/toe warmers are a gift from god. (Widely available during ski season at REI and other sporting goods stores).

10-12-2007, 01:40 PM
Thanks to all you good people who answered my post; you gave me lots to think about and to do. I shall be taking it all on board this winter.:)

ZenCentury, your recomended link was terrific - thanks so much for finding it.

Yes, I do live in SNOWdonia and it seems true that Americans find the UK a fridge (including my American, cycling, daughter-in law!) BUT several of you get cold anyway, in the US, so moving to Candycorn land isn't going to help me!

I hope all you fellow sufferers got a lot out of the postings to help you in the coming months. I'll maybe post again next Spring to ask whether you had a better than usual winter! Final tip is to wear rubber gloves if you do the washing up by hand - to preserve the natural oils in the skin.

Meantime, here is a little batch of photos of my patch - SNOWdon is in the background. :)