Ask Dr. H: Medical issues could cause chilly feeling

Q: I feel uncomfortable when the temperature drops to 65-70 degrees. I have to reach for a warm sweater or heavy blanket at night. Is there something wrong with me?

Andy Sharp/AJC Special

Andy Sharp/AJC Special

A: Certain underlying medical problems like anemia, iron deficiency or a sluggish thyroid can cause a person to feel abnormally cold, but there’s also a good possibility that there’s nothing at all wrong with you. If you’re thin, you’ve got less body fat to contain the heat. Just as those who are overweight may complain of the heat, those who are lean tend to complain more of feeling cold.

I’d suggest a medical work-up, including a TSH blood test to check for an underactive thyroid, a complete blood count to look for anemia or infection, iron studies to look for deficiency and a test for adrenal gland function if a problem is suspected.

Dr. Mitchell Hecht is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Send questions to him at: “Ask Dr. H,” P.O. Box 767787, Roswell, GA 30076. Because of the large volume of mail received, personal replies are not possible.

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4 comments Add your comment


March 24th, 2010
2:32 pm

Would it matter much to the diagnosis if I was 79 years old? Aren’t all older people cold?


March 25th, 2010
12:29 pm

I am tall and lean…6.2″ 175lbs.
I get cold sometimes…but I think it’s funny when fat people complain about being hot.


March 25th, 2010
4:51 pm

Yes and I think it’s HILARIOUS when skinny people are blue and shivering……har har.

My husband is very lean – works out every day, eats right, etc. He is always HOT, can’t wear sweaters at all, wears shorts in the winter and hates having a blanket on him at night. I think it’s his metabolism being all revved up. Whatever – it’s great having that furnace to cozy up to at night!


April 1st, 2010
1:20 pm

Interesting. Never thought to ask about that though they’ve done blood workups for most of those things anyways and found none.
I’m not on the thin side, but I even keep a blanket at work – below about 73 and I start shivering, under 70 and my fingers are blue. Perhaps I should be moving to Florida or Texas. :-/