Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Can a lack of iron make me feel cold?"
I get very cold so easily even when it's warm. Is this anemia. I am a 21 year old woman.
Cold intolerance, or a feeling of cold when others think it is warm outside, is very common and is often NOT related to disease, particularly in young women. However, there are a few tests your doctor may want to test for this, including your thyroid function tests, as hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone) are one of the more common causes of cold intolerance. Most likely, though, is simple poor circulation to the extremities, which is common among young women, especially those who are thin and have little body fat. Iron deficiency is not known to cause cold intolerance. It usually presents with fatigue, decreased ability to exercise, pale skin. You may be at risk for it if you have particularly heavy or long periods, or have other sources of blood loss. You may also be at risk for it if you are a vegetarian. It more rarely presents with cravings to eat ice (called pica), or a discomfort in the legs when trying to go to sleep that is relieved with moving the leg (restless leg syndrome). Your primary care physician may be better able to help diagnose the cause of your cold intolerance, and to determine if you are at risk for iron deficiency anemia.
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