12 reasons and conditions that make you cold all the time

I’m going to be a snowbird.

That’s our affectionate term for northerners who escape to warmer places as soon as Thanksgiving is over, and don’t return until the beautiful Maine spring is here.

Feeling cold for six months out of the year just doesn’t agree with me anymore. I need warmth in my bones.

When I’m indoors and warm, it’s OK. But you can’t stay inside all winter.

For some people, though, feeling cold seems to be a year-round thing, no matter where they live.

If you find your hands and feet constantly chilled, and if you’re wearing layers of sweaters even in June, you should probably see if something else is going on.

Here are some of the conditions that might be making you cold all of the time.

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1. Low BMI (you’re too thin). BMI stands for body mass index. It’s a measurement that takes into account your height and your weight.

A BMI of around 18.5 or lower can make you cold for several reasons. First, you lack sufficient body fat to insulate you from cold temperatures.

And, if you’re that thin, you’re likely not eating enough calories, which means your metabolism has slowed and is not producing enough energy to keep you warm

2. You are sleep deprived. Consistent lack of sleep throws off the regulatory areas in the brain that control body temperature, particularly the hypothalamus.

3. You’re anemic. People with anemia do not have enough healthy red blood cells in their bodies. If you’re not getting enough iron, red blood cells cannot transport oxygen and deliver the nutrients that heat your cells. This could leave you feeling cold all over.

4. You need more Vitamin B12. Chicken, eggs, and fish are good sources of this vitamin. If you’re not getting enough, you could become anemic.

Many medications prevent the absorption of B12. These include statins, diuretics, anticonvulsants, and the diabetes drug metformin.

5. Among the drugs that can give you the chills are beta blockers for hypertension. They can also cause memory loss.

6. You’re dehydrated. Water warms you up in two ways. It traps heat and releases it slowly, keeping your body temperature steady. Water also helps drive your metabolism.

6 medical conditions that leave you feeling cold

1. When your thyroid gland does not secrete enough hormones, your metabolism slows. As with being underweight, the result is insufficient energy to keep the body warm.

2. Hashimoto’s disease. This autoimmune disease damages thyroid function. Symptoms other than cold intolerance include thinning hair, extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, depression and changes in the voice.

3. Type 2 diabetes. Diabetics often have anemia as well. Also, unchecked diabetes can lead to peripheral neuropathy, where the nerves in the hands and feet do not feel sensations well. Your hands and feet may not feel cold to the touch, but they feel cold to you.

4. Renal cell carcinoma. Also a cause of peripheral neuropathy, other symptoms of this most common cause of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, persistent pain in the side, fatigue and vision problems.

5. Systemic lupus erythematosus. This autoimmune disease is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms come and go and can resemble those of other diseases. Besides cold intolerance, a person with lupus experiences extreme fatigue, joint swelling and pain, hair loss, anemia, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

6. Raynaud’s phenomenon. Blood vessels in the hand narrow in response to cold or stress. An attack can last a few minutes, or as much as an hour. The fingers become white from lack of blood. Medications can prevent tissue damage from time spent without blood supply.


  1. Reasons You’re Always Cold — WebMD
  2. 10 Reasons You Feel Cold All The Time — Health
  3. What Causes Cold Intolerance? — Healthline
Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.