You might ask yourself why are you feeling colder now than when you are younger. May it be the tips of your fingers, the palm of your hands, or simply feeling cold all the time, this constant sensitivity to cold has become normal now that you’re older.
This might be a bother most especially to the elderly. It is not normal to always feel cold even during those hot weather days. This could mean that your tolerance level for coldness has gone low.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to this type of sensation for the elderly. Here are the five most common causes.
Causes of Cold Sensitivity in Seniors and the Elderly
1. Slow Metabolism / Hypothyroidism
Studies show that as you get older, your metabolism rate starts to slow down. Due to this fact, you start to burn energy a lot slower than those who are young. Heat generated by your body will also be lessened because of this reason.
There are also cases in which your metabolism even goes slower. This is because you may have the case of hypothyroidism. When you have this condition, it means that your metabolism rate is even slower than what you are supposed to have at your age. Your thyroid gland simply does not give of the right number of thyroid hormones needed by your body to generate heat.
If you are experiencing hypothyroidism, it is important to see a doctor immediately to get diagnosed. Here are some symptoms that you will notice if you have this condition:
- Cold sensation in different parts of body
- Heart rate is slower than usual
- Hair thinning is faster
- Constipation problems
- Feeling depressed most of the time
- Sudden feeling of tiredness
In case you can’t see a doctor immediately, here are some remedies that can help you get past this problem.
- Start eating healthy – This means no sweets, carbs, and fatty foods. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
- Eat small, frequent meals – This means that you should only eat small meals spread throughout the day. Your digestion levels are low when you have hypothyroidism. This will help you digest food faster.
- Increase activity and exercise – It is important to always move your body. Even as an older adult, there are still many ways for you to exercise and be guided safely.
- Take note of your diet – Keeping a journal or diary about your daily food intake is important so that you can monitor everything you eat and burn in a day.
2. Side Effects of Medications
It is understandable that as you get older, you take in a whole lot of medications in your body. They are important to keep you running. But, not all of your medications are without side effects. Studies show that medications such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers have side effects that could cause you to feel cold.
If you are having this sensation, it is important to go see a doctor immediately in order to get a new prescription. Your medication might have side effects that are not good for you. There may be alternative medications that would be fit for you to take. A blood test may also be required by your doctor in this case.
Never make any changes to your medications without talking to your doctor first. If you can’t see a doctor immediately, here are some natural substitutes that you can take:
- Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like dark and brightly colored veggies.
- Foods rich in potassium like spinach, broccoli, bananas, and sweet potatoes
- Natural herbs like garlic, hawthorn, and barberry
3. Low Blood Pressure / Hypotension
Also known as hypotension, this means that your blood pressure rate is lower than average. Although it is desirable by some and is common with the elderly, blood is slowly flowing through your body because of this condition. With this in mind, it means that it could affect your body temperature.
The symptoms of hypotension are as follows:
- Cold feeling in some parts of your body including your fingertips, toes, palms, ears, and hands
- Dizziness and nausea
- Vision is getting blurry
- Getting tired easily
If diagnosed with this condition, it is important to go see your doctor for medical prescription and medical advise. If not treated immediately, you might develop more implications other than just feeling cold.
4. Thinning Fat Layers and Skin
It is known that as you get older, your skin starts to feel thin and several fat layers on your body beings to dissolve. When this situation happens, you will surely feel cold almost all the time. This may be caused by a lot of factors like metabolism, a skin condition you don’t know you had, anorexia, or simply just because you are getting old and it is natural.
In order to remedy this situation, it is important to do the following:
- Wear thick warm clothing to reduce coldness
- Stay near warm and open places where sunlight is abundant
- Stick to proper diet in order to burn more energy
- Keep warm blankets available. Stash an electric throw blanket near the couch if a standard blanket doesn’t do the trick.
5. Not Eating Enough Food / Anorexia
This is also called Anorexia nervosa by medical experts. It is an eating disorder that can be life threatening. People who suffer from this condition are usually viewed as very thin people and this condition is also becoming increasingly common among the elderly. They also have a fear of gaining weight which causes them not to eat a lot.
We know that food is a source of heat and energy. If we don’t eat, we don’t get energy and can’t burn it to gain heat, thus making you feel cold.
The only possible treatment for this is to either go see a doctor or a dietician. They will help guide you on effective eating disorder treatments, what foods you need to eat on a daily basis, and even give you therapy to address your fear of gaining weight.
These are the different causes of feeling cold in the elderly even during times when the weather is hot. It is important to remember these causes to know whether or not it is time to consult your doctor and diagnose any underlying medical conditions.