ZocdocAnswersWhat could be causing me to feel cold constantly and can I stop it?

Question

What could be causing me to feel cold constantly and can I stop it?

I am a 19 year old male student. The problem I experience is having ice cold hands and feeling cold nearly all the time. The problem has persisted for around 6 months now. I have tried exercising to prevent it, but it only warms me up for an hour or so. Even in warm settings, when my peers complain about the heat, I still find it necessary to wear extra layers of clothing.

Answer

Feeling cold is a common complaint. Often this is a relatively minor complaint with no obvious derangement that requires medical intervention. That being said, there are a few common and serious complaints that should be ruled out. I would recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor in order to have this evaluated. Many people complain of feeling cold. In the acute setting (if this started all of a sudden) one would worry about infections. However if it has been going on for a while then this is less likely. If you are having discrete episodes of shaking chills, then this would be concerning for a chronic infection or rheumatologic disease. If this is the case, it requires attention. There are a few causes of chronic cold feeling. The most common is low thyroid hormone levels -- known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid hormone, is the energy hormone, so low levels cause the feeling of cold, fatigue, constipation, and dry skin. If this applies to you then your thyroid levels should be checked. Other causes of feeling cold include low steroid levels (Addison's disease). Being cold in just the hands could be a vascular disease (known as Raynaud's). See your doctor. At the very least, thyroid levels should be checked.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.