Why do some people feel the cold more than others?
Working from home a lot more during the pandemic has highlighted the differences between what my wife and I think are comfortable temperatures, and never have they been so apparent.
I have always thought that I run pretty hot-blooded, as even in the depths of winter I don’t necessarily feel the need to put on a heater, except for the very coldest of days. (I still need it on at nights, I’m not a madman!)
Studies have shown that women do feel the cold more than men, so the differences between my wife and I are hardly surprising.
However, even in the middle of winter I will often go to work wearing just a shirt, while other are decked out in jumpers, jackets and scarves (men and women).
What is behind this phenomenon?
Physiologist Professor Ollie Jay from the University of Sydney told The Sydney Morning Herald that most people have a body temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius and that this doesn’t change much, even when the weather gets cooler.
Prof. Jay explained that the reason we feel cold is because of thermo-receptors in our skin, which are different in everybody, so that people who are feeling cold are feeling cold skin, rather than a cold body temperature.
According to Prof. Jay, skinnier people with longer limbs tend to be more susceptible to losing heat.
People also tend to feel the cold more as they age due to a decrease in the metabolic rate and the thinning of fat under the skin.
There are some causes of feeling cold as you age that may point to more serious underlying health issues.
If it is your hands and feet that are always cold, rather than other parts of your body, it could be a sign that you are suffering from anaemia, a condition where you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues.
The condition is commonly overlooked in older people, even though it becomes more prevalent with age.
Lack of vitamin B12 and iron deficiency can also cause anaemia and lead you to feel cold. To address this vitamin deficiency, you can try eating more chicken, eggs and fish.
Type 2 diabetes can cause both anaemia and poor circulation, which can result in people feeling cold. One of the easiest ways to check if the cold feeling is caused by diabetes is if your feet feel cold but they are not cold to the touch.
If your kidneys are not functioning properly, they will not filter your blood as efficiently as they should. This can allow waste to build up to dangerous levels and lower your core body temperature.
Your risk of kidney disease increases as you age.
Do you feel the cold more than your partner? Have you always felt the cold more than others, or is it something that has become more pronounced as you’ve aged? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.
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