What is Cold Sensitivity?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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Cold sensitivity is something that many people experience, and it doesn't necessarily indicate that a health problem is present. There are a lot of people who are naturally sensitive to cold, but then there are also some people who have developed cold sensitivity because of underlying health problems. Being sensitive to cold isn't harmful in and of itself, but some of the conditions that cause it do require treatment. People who suddenly become sensitive to cold air when they weren't before should probably see their doctors to make sure nothing is wrong. If no medical condition requiring specific treatment is present, there are several home remedies for cold sensitivity that may be considered.

Sensitivity to coldness is a fairly common problem, particularly among people who are thin. Thinner people often have a harder time dealing with cold than people with more body fat because they don't have enough fat to keep themselves warm. The majority of people tend to find extreme cold rather unpleasant, but people who could be diagnosed with cold sensitivity typically cannot tolerate even minor coldness for very long periods of time and might often have to bundle themselves up inside several layers of clothing in order to be comfortable.


Cold sensitivity is occasionally a side effect of several health problems, including hypothyroidism, anemia, and fibromyalgia. Hypothyroidism is a problem caused by a lack of thyroid hormone being produced inside the body. Anemia is usually the result of too few red blood cells, which is often a side effect of malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes pain throughout all body tissues, including the muscles. All of these health problems are manageable, and managing the problems might reduce the levels of cold sensitivity experienced.

People who are extremely sensitive to cold, either by nature of because of health problems, may be able to find relief in several different ways. If cold sensitivity is caused by health problems, treating the health problem often reduces the sensitivity. It may also be possible to control cold sensitivity by wearing several layers of clothing during cold weather, drinking hot beverages such as coffee or tea on a regular basis, or participating in frequent exercise, which tends to get blood flowing through the veins, causing them to expand in size and warm the body up. People who are sensitive to cold might also sleep better at night if they are bundled up underneath several layers of blankets.


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Post 4

I am always dieting, and losing and gaining weight. I have noticed that I am more sensitive to cold when I weigh less.

Post 3

My wife and I have a difficult time getting the thermostat set on a temperature where we can both be comfortable when we are sitting in the house. She is always cold when I am comfortable, and I am always hot when she is comfortable. I am much larger than she is and I think this is what accounts for the difference in our ideal settings on the thermostat.

During the winter, I walk around the house in T-shirts and she wears thick sweaters because of her high sensitivity to cold. Now that I think about it, she also wears sweaters during the summer when the A/C is running.

Post 2

@Feryll - Actually your explanation about your legs not getting cold does make sense. As I recall, most of the heat we lose from our bodies escapes from our heads and our feet. So in theory, if you wear a warm hat and wear warm socks and shoes then you shouldn't freeze in average winter temperatures.

Still, I would advise long pants and several layers in some of the colder climates. When you awake to temperatures below zero, you should probably put the shorts away for a while.

Post 1

People often look at me a little strangely because I wear shorts year 'round. I like the feel of shorts. They are less restricting than long pants, so I wear them wherever they are appropriate. I would wear them to work if they were part of the dress code.

As you can imagine, some people think I am a bit off when there is snow on the ground and I am walking around in shorts. I try to explain to people that my legs don't get cold. As long as my upper body is well covered I am warm. Most people don't buy the explanation, but for me cold sensitivity is not an issue as long as my upper body and feet are warm.

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