- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Why Do Some People Always Feel Cold?
Foods that Heal
Do you know someone who is always cold? They are cold even when the temperature is 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit). Do they wear four or five layers of clothing during winter? Is their home always hot and stuffy as all windows and doors are kept closed? Do they complain if you open a door or window; saying the breeze is cold? Are they always dressed in long sleeve clothing, socks and scarf, even indoor during the summer? Do they rarely put the air condition on during summer? Do they sweat profusely when they are anxious or rushed? Well, I know someone like that; it's my mother.
My mother is a humble warrior. She was born in 1945, and she is choosing to retire this year from a profession that she has done for almost forty years. That does not however mean that she is slowing down, much to the contrary. She is starting another chapter in her life; continuing to pursue her passion. My mother, a soft-spoken, reserved, kind, compassionate and dedicated christian. She went back to college at the age of 50 to obtain a Masters degree in Theology and Christian Counselling. She has always been a busy woman who raised six children mostly on her own, while joggling a teaching career and pursuing her goal of life-long learning. Currently, she is one of the pastors at her church, to which she is extremely dedicated and will be taking on more leadership once she retires. She also volunteers with several retirement homes; visiting residents reading, praying and conversing with them on a weekly basis. She is in relatively good health; complaining only of the occasional bronchitis, dizzy spell and fatigue. In her twenties, my mother was very overweight. After a divorce in her thirties, she had a nervous breakdown, but quickly rebounded and went to teachers' college to finish her training in primary education. She lost almost seventy pounds by walking most days to and from work about four miles each way. Over the last thirty years, she has managed to maintain a healthy weight and is in fairly good health.
One of the main area of challenge for my mother and I over the last two years is regarding her constantly feeling cold. I have informed her in no uncertain terms that there is something wrong with her internal barometer/thermostat. Sometimes I feel like I have even tried to poke fun (especially when she's wearing a spring jacket in the summer) at my mother to get her to do something about her her health condition. I've asked her on numerous occasions to speak with her doctor about the situation; she does not see it as a problem. She has dismissed my concerns, even though recently she decided to humor me and ask her doctor about the condition. In the meanwhile I'm on a quest to find out if something could indeed be wrong.
My first stop is at MSN Health & Fitness website, to find the answer to question of always feeling cold. Howard Lewine, MD of Harvard Health Publications highlights some of the more common reasons why someone would feel colder than normal. He suggests low body weight, poor diets, fatigue, an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism), low red blood cell count (anemia) and Raynaud's phenomenon. Even though my mom has lost about twenty pounds last summer, I think that she's at an healthy body weight of 165 lbs and height of 5 feet and 6 inches. She eats fairly healthy and always takes a multivitamin, calcium with vitamin D and Vitamin B-12. She eats lots of green leafy vegetables, but does not eat enough steak, at least in my opinion. What concerns me however is that she often complains of being tired. She travels for about two hours each way to work four days per week and on Sunday she spends the whole day ministering at her church and then at a nursing home. I have often told her to cut back on doing so much and relax more, but she is highly driven and chooses to stay busy.
Hypothyroidism I suspected that the coldness that my mother is experiencing, even during summer could be caused form hypothyroidism or anaemia. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes under active and does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The metabolic rate falls and normal bodily functions slow down.
According to bodyandhealth.canada.com, people with hypothyroidism often experience:
- coarse and dry hair
- cold intolerance
- confusion or forgetfulness (often mistaken for dementia in seniors)
- dry, scaly skin
- fatigue, or feeling sluggish
- hair loss
- increased menstrual flow (women)
- muscle cramps
- slower heart rate
- weight gain
Treatment for hypothyroidism: thyroid-guide.org states that consuming seafood, organic vegetables and shellfish is a good idea as they are rich in iodine and can naturally help overcome the deficiency of iodine in the body. An increased intake in iodine helps cure hypothyroidism as the thyroid gland’s basic function is the production of iodine in the body which in turn regulates the hormone production process. They also suggest vitamin A, B, C and E are helpful in curbing the ill-effects of this disease and taking plenty of vitamin D in the form of exposure to sunlight and in the form of supplementary during winter.
Anaemia: According to ehealthmd.com, anaemia is a condition that results from below-normal levels of hemoglobin in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing pigment of the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. When you're anaemic, your body either produces too few healthy red blood cells, or destroys them faster than they can be replaced or loses too many of them. If your diet lacks certain vitamins and minerals, the production of hemoglobin can slow down.
The website, ehealthmd.com suggests the following syptoms of a person with anaemia as a diagnosis:
- Heart palpitations (rapid or irregular beating)
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
Common signs include:
- Pale complexion
- The normally red lining of the mouth and eyelids fades in color
- Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Abnormal menstruation (either absence of periods or increased bleeding)
How to treat anaemia? According to healthmad.com fruits such as iron-rich apples and tomatoes are great to eat when treating anaemia. You can either eat apples or tomatoes or drink 100% pure apple and tomato juice to treat anaemia. Also fruits that effectively treat anaemia are plums, bananas, lemons, grapes, raisins, oranges, figs, carrots and raisins when eaten in large quantities. They also suggest that vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, beet, broccoli, fenugreek, celery and kale are iron-rich, energy-filled vegetables that treat anemia effectively. These vegetables are rich in iron as well Vitamin B-12 and folic acid, energy-boosting nutrients that the body needs to heal from anemia. Beetroot juice is an iron-rich vegetable juice that those suffering from anaemia can drink as a tonic against fatigue and lethargy. They also suggest legumes such as almonds, whole grain cereals, dry dates, peanuts and walnuts are great foods to help the body heal.
The symptoms of anaemia are similar to hypothyroidism and menopause. My mother has been menopausal for over fifteen years. About a month ago, I suggested that she got some blood work done for thyroid and anaemia. Fortunately, the result showed that she does not have hypothyroidism or anaemia. Could she be suffering from the effects of menopause? Could the treatment for anaemia be useful to her condition?
While the verdict is still out on my mother's condition; (she still complains of being cold), she is taking steps to take care of herself by consuming healthy foods. As for the matter of slowing down and taking time for herself, that will happen soon enough, at least I have seen some indications of that. My mother is finally cutting back on some of the activities; she is trying to find some balance and is starting to take time for herself. If anything positive has come from our more recent interactions, it is that my mother is becoming more aware of the need to take care of herself. At the time of writing this post, she told me that she was cold and will turn off the air condition; it was about 29 degrees celsius. Some things never change.