Cold Intolerance: Why Am I So Sensitive To Cold?

Cold intolerance: why am I so sensitive to cold?


Cold intolerance is basically sensitivity to cold temperatures. Some people do not enjoy cold temperatures, but those experiencing cold intolerance find it even more difficult to achieve a comfortable body temperature regardless of the situation.

People with cold intolerance most of the time feel cold when other people are comfortable or even warm. Some people naturally tend to feel colder than others, without any discernible cause. However, cold intolerance can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.


How the body maintains its core internal temperature?

Our internal body temperature is regulated by a part of our brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus checks our current temperature and compares it with the normal temperature of about 37°C (98°F).

If our temperature is too low, the hypothalamus makes sure that the body generates and maintains heat. If our current body temperature is too high, heat is given off or sweat is produced to cool the skin.

The hypothalamus also directs the thyroid gland to increase or decrease your body’s metabolism, therefore the thyroid’s health plays a crucial part of this regulation. The thyroid has to be functioning properly to burn calories in the body to create heat and fuel.

Your blood flow, which helps to maintain the body’s temperature, are also important. It helps spread the heat, and your body fat.


What causes cold intolerance?

Some causes of cold intolerance are:



As I mentioned above thyroid health plays a big role in regulating the temperature. For instance, when the body makes too much thyroid hormone – body temperature rises. With hypothyroidism, body temperature tends to decrease because of a deficiency in thyroid hormone.



Cold hands and feet can be a result of iron deficiency anaemia. People with anaemia have poor blood circulation throughout their bodies because they don’t have enough red blood cells to provide oxygen to their tissue.

“If you’re not getting enough oxygen to your body tissue, you don’t have a normal sensation of hot and cold,” says nutritionist Chelmsford.


Lack of vitamin B12

Along with iron, vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells. Just the same, therefore, a deficiency may lead to persistent feelings of cold.



Many researchers believe fibromyalgia involve something called dysautonomia, which means dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. That’s what controls our homeostasis, which keeps things like our heart rate, digestion, and body temperature within normal parameters.

In dysautonomia, these automatic functions can be askew, and in many of us with fibromyalgia that’s highly apparent in our body temperature.


Poor Circulation

If it’s just your hands and feet (the extremities) that feel cold, then you may well suffer from poor circulation, which isn’t necessarily anything to worry about. However, if the coldness is generally restricted to one side of your body, you may have a form of heart disease called atherosclerosis.


Lack of Sleep

Studies have found that body temperature drops in those who don’t get a good night’s sleep. This is because sleep deprivation affects the nervous system and the regulatory mechanisms in the brain that regulates heat. The reduced activity in the hypothalamus area of the brain has a knock-on effect on the body’s metabolism, causing it to become sluggish.



Some people with diabetes suffer from kidney damage, known as diabetic nephropathy, which can cause cold intolerance as well as nausea, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and/or swelling in the face, feet, or hands.


Raynaud’s disease

When the body is exposed to cold temperatures, it typically limits the flow of blood to the skin to minimise excessive loss of body temperature and preserve the temperature of internal organs.

If you have Raynaud’s disease, however, arteries in the hands constrict too much when external temperatures are cool or when you experience emotional stress. As a result, your fingers may be unusually sensitive to colder temperatures; they may also change colour—to blue, white, or both—when exposed to cool temperatures (or during periods of emotional stress).


Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia, the eating disorder, leads to loss of body fat which in the results may cause cold sensitivity.


Disorders of the hypothalamus

This area of the brain produces hormones that control body temperature.



Malnutrition results from a diet deficient in vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Over long term or even over a short term this may lead to severe debility and damage to the vital functions of the body. Lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to a serious health problems such as anaemia.


Seeking medical care for cold sensitivity

If you’re regularly experiencing cold intolerance, consider talking with your healthcare provider. You may need a complete physical exam and laboratory tests to determine if you have an underlying health condition that’s contributing to your cold sensitivity. Once you know your diagnosis you can work with nutritional therapist to help your body to recover.


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