Are you one of the many older adults wondering why you’re freezing when it’s 99 degrees outside? Are you constantly adding layers of blankets just to stay warm inside? Aging can bring about many changes to your body, including an increased sensitivity to cold. Cold intolerance as you age is quite normal and nothing you should worry about if you’re in good health.
However, there are some health conditions that can make you hypersensitive to the cold. So, it’s always a good idea to discuss any sudden body changes with your primary care provider so they can eliminate any potential underlying causes for your need to bundle up. Here are some possible reasons why you’re experiencing cold intolerance as you age.
Common in older adults, anemia occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your entire body. Instead, your healthy red blood cells direct the oxygen toward vital organs like your brain, kidney, and heart. This leaves the rest of your body, including your hands and feet, without enough blood flow to keep them warm. Anemia is usually due to an iron, folate, or vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you’ve recently started feeling cold all the time and have other symptoms, such as urinating frequently and fatigue, you need to discuss these changes with your provider, as you may have diabetes. Diabetes can cause nerve damage in your hands and feet, called peripheral neuropathy. This can make your limbs feel cold, tingly, or numb. This is something that definitely needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Untreated diabetes can lead to other severe health conditions, including kidney disease and anemia.
Low Body Mass Index (BMI)
Many of us never had to worry about being underweight, but now that we’re getting older, our bodies are slowly changing, and keeping weight on can become a challenge for some. Believe it or not, there is a benefit to having body fat. It helps to insulate us from the old. So, when you don’t have enough fat, your body essentially can’t keep you warm, and you begin to have cold intolerance as you age. This is very common in older adults or those with specific illnesses that make it difficult to consume or retain enough nutrients to maintain a healthy weight.
Poor circulation can occur for a number of reasons. Heart disease, diabetes, and certain medications can all affect your body’s circulatory system. Similar to anemia, if you have poor blood flow or decreased circulation in your arteries, your body prioritizes blood flow to critical areas and organs. This leaves you feeling cold because your body can’t regulate its temperature.
Don’t Wait, Speak to Your Provider Today and Warm Up
Your cold intolerance could be as simple as you just getting older and your skin thinning out. But it could be a sign that something very serious is going on and needs to be addressed immediately. Poor circulation and conditions like diabetes and heart disease are not things to ignore. If they are the cause of you always feeling cold, they need to be managed right away to prevent further damage.
Contact your primary care provider today and get to the root cause of your cold intolerance as you age. Click here to find a provider near you.