The Real Reason You're Always Cold

It may be a nice day, but you could be one of those people who needs to pack a shawl or a light sweater, well, just in case you start to feel cold — even if the thermostat says it will be more of a light t-shirt, and less a sweater kind of day. Does this mean you have a health problem? It depends, doctors say, because our internal temperature controls are controlled by several factors.

Our muscles produce up to a quarter of our bodies' normal temperature, which when we move less (or don't move at all), we're likely to feel cooler (via ScienceLine). The National Sleep Foundation says if you have problems getting enough sleep on a regular basis, your skin cools down, which is another reason you might feel cold. 

Even something like recent weight loss could cause your body temperature to drop, because you need fat to store heat and if your body weight is lower, chances are you've lost a bit of insulation. People who suffer from panic or anxiety attacks can also feel cold (via Self). Age is also a factor because research shows as we get older, we lose muscle mass and our metabolism slows down, impacting our body's ability to stay warm as a result (via Huffington Post). 

Feeling cold can also be triggered by underlying medical conditions

But you could be feeling cold because you have an underlying medical condition, too.

Our internal thermostat is controlled by an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which can tell our thyroid glands to raise or lower our bodies' metabolism. If the thyroid isn't doing enough, a condition called hypothyroidism sets in, and feeling cold all the time, especially when those around you don't seem to be affected in the same way, is a really good reason to get your thyroid checked out by a doctor. "People with hypothyroidism often feel cold because they do not make enough thyroid hormone," physician and co-founder of a thyroid lab-testing service, Chirag Shah, tells the Huffington Post. "The result is that the metabolism slows down, resulting in the sensation of feeling cold."

Shah also says feeling cold could be a sign you suffer from a red blood cell deficiency, known as anemia. "Red blood cells are important for carrying oxygen around the body," Shah says. "Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot function properly and can lead to the sensation of feeling cold in addition to other symptoms."

So if your feeling cold is a problem an extra sweater or shawl can't easily address, or you notice that you're cold when everyone else is not, it may be time to head to the doctor's office, just to make sure everything checks out.