I feel cold even when it is hot

Monday November 26 2018

Women naturally feel colder than men given the

Women naturally feel colder than men given the same environment and people with a low body weight (with a BMI of 18.5 or under) may feel cold all the time because of lack of adequate body fat to insulate them from heat loss or cold temperatures.  

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I am 20 years old but I always feel very cold, especially during hot days. What is wrong? Edrine

Dear Edrine,
Feeling cold on a chilly day is normal but some people will say they feel cold all the time even when many others are feeling warm. People who feel cold while others do not (or may even be feeling warm) may be suffering from a condition referred to as cold intolerance.

Women naturally feel colder than men given the same environment and people with a low body weight (with a BMI of 18.5 or under) may feel cold all the time because of lack of adequate body fat to insulate them from heat loss or cold temperatures.
Body temperature is regulated majorly by the hypothalamus (that acts as the body’s thermostat) a part of the brain that sends messages to the body systems that regulate heat production.

When the body gets chilled, the hypothalamus directs the thyroid gland, (a butterfly shaped organ below the Adams apple) to increase break down of food to create more heat but in cases of a thyroid that is not working to produce enough thyroid hormones, (hypothyroidism) this may not be possible, making one feel cold all the time, including on a warm day.

Feeling cold ould be a symptom of several different conditions including lack of blood (anaemia), Vitamin B12 deficiency, poor blood circulation, lack of sleep, anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder resulting in severe weight loss), a chronic infection, some types of cancer or a disease of the pituitary gland. These conditions are usually associated with poor health, which you did not say you have.

You may need to visit a doctor for reassurance apart from advice on how to put on a little bit of healthy weight in case it is the problem. If no problem is found, you just need to wear more warm clothing.

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