Feeling the cold more? This might be why

Seven reasons why coats and scarves may be standard dress.

Are you feeing the cold more?

Your adult kids are wearing T-shirts and shorts – and so are the grandchildren. Meanwhile, you’re wearing long pants, multiple layers up top and boots. And you’re still cold. You have visions of your grandmother – not your grandfather – wrapped in warm shawls. What is going on?

While increasing sensitivity to the cold may be a sign of a medical problem, it’s more likely to be just another one of those challenges we face as we hit the 60s, 70s and beyond.

As we age, our circulation takes a hit because the walls of the blood vessels lose their elasticity and the fat layer under the skin that helps conserve body heat starts to thin. Our metabolic responses to the cold may also be slower; specifically the trigger to direct blood vessels to constrict in order to keep the body temperature up.

What else may be to blame?

1. You're too thin
When you're underweight, you don’t have the body fat to insulate you from the cold, explains nutritionist Maggie Moon. Skimping on calories also puts the brakes on your metabolism, so that, in turn, you don't create enough body heat.

Solution? Fatten up.

2. Your thyroid is out of whack
That butterfly-shaped gland in your neck is responsible for a range of issues when it isn’t functioning property, and sensitivity to cold is one of them.

Dr Holly Phillips, author of The Exhaustion Breakthrough, says: "Always being cold is a tell-tale sign of hypothyroidism, which means your thyroid doesn't secrete enough thyroid hormone.”

When this hormone is not produced at the right level, your metabolism slows, preventing your body's engine from producing adequate heat. The problem is more prevalent in women who are over age 60.

Solution? See your doctor.

3. You don't get enough iron
Iron helps your red blood cells carry oxygen through your body. Studies suggest that an iron deficiency has an impact on the thyroid, making that gland less effective at generating the heat your body needs. An iron deficiency also affects circulation.

Solution? Get your GP to arrange a blood test to check your iron levels. Boost your iron intake by eating meat, eggs, leafy greens, beetroot, nuts and seeds. Also eat foods rich in vitamin C – such as oranges, tomatoes, berries, kiwi fruit and capsicum – to boost iron absorption.

4. You have poor circulation
Cold hands and feet might indicate a circulation problem. Cardiovascular disease can be one cause. Your heart may not be pumping blood effectively or you may have a blockage of the arteries.

Solution? Check in with your doctor.

5. You don't get enough sleep
"Sleep deprivation can wreck havoc on your nervous system, throwing off regulatory mechanisms in the brain that affect body temperature,” Dr Phillips says.

Studies suggest that a lack of quality snooze time leads to a reduction in activity in the hypothalamus, the control panel in the brain where body temperature is regulated.

Solution? Plan your night’s sleep better or see your GP if it’s an ongoing problem.

6. You're dehydrated
"Up to 60 per cent of the adult human body is water, and water helps regulate body temperature,” Ms Moon said. "If you're adequately hydrated, water will trap heat and release it slowly, keeping your body temperature in a comfortable zone. With less water, your body is more sensitive to extreme temperatures.”

Solution? Aim for the requisite eight glasses of water a day at a minimum.

7. You're a woman
Do you have the doona pulled up while hubby has it scrunched in the middle? Cold is an accepted gendered condition.

“In general, women are better at conserving heat than men,” health.com says. "In order to do this, women's bodies are programmed to maintain blood flow to vital organs such as the brain and heart.”

This directs blood flow away from other parts of the body such as hands and feet.

Solution? Hmmm, maybe separate beds?

Do you find yourself feeling the cold more as you get older? Have you found any creative fixes?

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.



    To make a comment, please register or login

    24th Apr 2018
    Anaemia is another cause.
    24th Apr 2018
    Does say lack of iron
    24th Apr 2018
    Women always have cold feet and hands. They may be better at conseving heat than men but Im Not so sure , I've been hiking with women and found them to be a shivering mess when I've just got my jumper on, I think if there had been a snow storm I would of survived longer than them.
    24th Apr 2018
    Tib, they may've been "a shivering mess" for the very reason you've "just got (a) jumper on". You naughty boy - I'm surprised that your letting it all hang out didn't bring em to their knees. Snow job indeed!
    24th Apr 2018
    Ha ha
    24th Apr 2018
    Nerve pain is another cause. It can be burning or freezing.

    I have nerve pain over my head and shoulders so walking into a supermarket I have to cover my head and face or I will get so cold, it will start to lock up my muscles and it will get difficult to walk, speak or think clearly.

    The remainder of my body gets a normal response to the cold but have to keep cold draft off my upper spine. Some pain medication causes extra perspiration which is a little self defeating because the perspiration adds to the excess chill, but its better to take the medication than not take it.

    Nerve pain is caused when the wrong signal is generated within the nervous system or the level of the signal is out of proportion.

    A little like an electrical wire with the insulation damaged or a computer that cant process the incoming signals properly.
    Crystal Clear
    24th Apr 2018
    I found thermal ski pants and vests are great, add some fingerless gloves,warm socks and you can even buy furry lined slippers, with heat-up soles, (they have a small battery in each one) or a pair of ugg boots.
    You may find that all this covering up makes you so warm you need to take a jumper or jacket off after a very short while. No need for heating.
    Also, buy a small heater with fake coal or wood. Take the chill of the room for a little while then switch the heater off but leave the flickering coals- just looking at the 'fire' makes you feel warmer.
    24th Apr 2018
    My god crystal where do you live, at the North Pole with Santa.
    24th Apr 2018
    If you're feeling the cold try eating something, you will find youre warmer immediately. Old hikers trick.
    25th Apr 2018
    Not separate beds, just separate doonas! Works a treat.
    Crystal Clear
    25th Apr 2018
    Well Tib, that was a slice of unnecessary and uncalled for sarcasm over some simple suggestions to help people who are feeling the cold and want to save money on heating.
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