Why Am I Cold All Time?


The human body is equipped with an efficient mechanism of temperature sensation. This mechanism enables us to detect temperatures that are potentially harmful (too high or too low). Because of what you are sensing in your body, you may be asking yourself (and others), “why am I cold all time?”

The cold feeling in your body may be a recent, short term occurrence (as in minutes to hours, or even days). Or it may have been there for a long time of weeks to months, or even years. The causes will tend to be different under these different time frames, though there are also overlaps.

This article will explore the causes of feeling cold in detail. It will help you to differentiate between the causes, based on the circumstances surrounding the cold feeling, and associated symptoms and signs. Advice will be given on what to do for each situation.

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Okay, so you may just be feeling cold today or over the past few hours or minutes, not long-term. You have checked – the environmental temperature is not cold or cold enough for you to be feeling this way. You are dressed up sufficiently, and no one that you have checked with is also feeling cold.

These are the most likely reasons to feel cold rather suddenly:

  • A high body temperature / fever
  • Ingestion of a cold liquid or food
  • Medication such as painkillers / antipyretics
  • Sudden drop in your blood circulation
  • Low blood glucose level

The above causes will be discussed in detail in the paragraphs after the next one.


Oh, in this case you have been feeling cold for quite a while now Dear Reader. No matter how much you have tried to dress up, warm yourself and avoid cold environments, you still feel cold. And there have been warm days, you still feel cold, when no one else around you has been feeling that way!

These are the likely causes in this scenario:

  • Decreased metabolism: hypothyroidism
  • Decreased metabolism: adrenals and other glands
  • Decreased metabolism: other causes
  • Bad blood circulation
  • Decreased insulation (low body weight, skin disorders such as dryness)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic fever
  • Medication

In the next paragraphs follows a full explanation about all the above causes of feeling cold.


It will be learnt from the totality of this article, that most cases of feeling cold result from a relatively low body temperature. This is caused by weakened heat generation due to various causes. But there is an exception – fever.

Our bodies have temperature set at a certain range. There is a normal range for all human beings. But there are variations between individual people.

The normal human body temperature is way above normal “room temperature”. But the body is used to this and exists in harmony with the surroundings.

When your body’s temperature rises significantly above the normal set point, and certainly when it exceeds what is the human normal, trouble starts. You begin to feel that the surrounding air is at a lower temperature than your body. You feel cold.

But what is really happening in this situation, is that you are losing heat energy to the environment. Your body sets in motion, mechanisms to get rid of the heat caused by the fever.

You ask, “why am I cold and sweating”? The sweating is EXACTLY one of the mechanisms the body uses to eliminate heat energy. Also accompanying is usually fast or heavy breathing.

Special mention needs to be made of chronic fever. We are used to situations where we may develop one of the common infections like influenza. In such cases, the onset of fever is quick and relatively short-lived.

But there exists what are called chronic or sub-acute infections. These infections can go on for weeks to months. Examples include a deep-seated infection in the bones (chronic osteomyelitis), infection of the inside of the heart (endocarditis), and tuberculosis (TB).

In chronic infections, the fever, usually a low grade one, will rumble on for a long time. It could be the only presenting symptom, manifesting only as a chronic feeling of cold, before other symptoms kick in, or until a Health professional suspects underlying infection.

The advice in relation to fever causing a feeling of cold, is to keep a thermometer such as the one provided above. It is very accurate and user friendly – will alert you through a certain note, when your body temperature is abnormal (high). Infectious diseases can be picked up early in this way, and timely action taken.

Also deserving mention under this section, is the common effect of antipyretics. The body can still adjust to an increased temperature, and not cause you to feel cold.

But when given medication for fever and pain, such as paracetamol and ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES, the rapid drop in temperature frequently causes sweating, a feeling of cold, and shivering. Awareness of these physiological processes, can prevent much alarm.


This may be due to another common, but often unrecognised, cause of feeling cold. This is the ingestion of cold liquids or food.

Sometimes, even when temperatures are cool or frankly cold, people can still eat cold food, or take cold drinks! This is influenced by people’s practiced routines (such as constantly drinking water) or dietary preferences. Sometimes we even suck on ice blocks during Winter meetings, just because the ice is there!

It is important to be alert as to the ambient temperatures, and ingest food and drinks of the appropriate temperature. This is even more advisable for people who have ailments that get worse with abnormal temperatures, such as arthritis that is worsened by cold exposure.


The cause of a poor blood circulation are numerous:

  • anaemia, which is a weakness of the red component of blood, the red blood cells
  • low circulating blood volume. This can be of sudden onset as in blood loss
  • decreased cardiac output due to a diseased heart (pump)

Whatever the cause of a bad blood circulation, the effect is a cut in the supply of nutrients such as glucose, and oxygen. Thus, metabolism and heat generation become compromised. This causes the body, and the blood stream itself, to drop in temperature.

In the presence of anaemia or low blood volume, the heart can work extra hard and maintain the output and blood pressure for some time. But there may be symptoms, such as coldness, that report the pathological state. Rapid intervention can help to prevent the heart from eventually getting tired and failing.

It is thus crucial that if one is feeling cold and there is suspected bad circulation, quick medical attention should be sought. A blood pressure machine as provided above in the links, and a haemoglobin measurement, can be very helpful.

A special category of poor circulation exists: the localised one. A typical example is decreased circulation to the extremities such as toes and fingers, as in Raynaud’s Phenomenon. This can be innate, or caused by e.g. medication.


Decreased metabolism has causes as listed above, and more. In terms of the endocrine system, the Thyroid gland is the most important. The gland is “the Conductor” of the body’s metabolism orchestra.

The thyroid gland can be diseased and under-function. The condition, called hypothyroidism, causes low circulating levels of the thyroid hormones. Thus metabolism cannot be stimulated, and not enough heat can be generated.

Please see this article on this website for more information about hypothyroidism, and advice.

The adrenal glands produce several hormones that speed up the body’s energy processes. In disease such as the immune disorder Addison’s Disease or infiltration by cancer, severe attacks of hypothermia can occur.

Metabolism may also be low simply because of consumption of low calories, or decreased physical activity. Thus, metabolism can be sped up by eating good quality high calorie diet, or warm to hot food. It can also be increased by using metabolism enhancers like spices, ginger, etc, or by increasing physical activity.


The human body has a certain proportion of fat. In terms of insulation against the cold, the most important fat is the layer deep to the skin (subcutaneous fat).

When people lose weight, the subcutaneous fat gets depleted. It may reach and go beyond a certain critical point. Beyond this point, many health problems ensue.

One of the problems caused by excessive weight loss as happens in cancer, anorexia nervosa, AIDS, etc, is inability to maintain body temperature.


In the above paragraphs, we have alluded to how painkillers / antipyretics can cause a feeling of cold. These are drugs or medications that work directly on the body’s heat mechanisms. They are licensed and used for among others, control of fever.

But there are many other medications that can cause coldness, as a side-effect. You may be taking one or some of them short term or long term for some indication, and not be aware that the medication is the cause of you feeling cold.

Some of the medications can cause coldness by causing a decreased cardiac output e.g. beta-blockers. Others may cause impaired circulation of the extremities (Raynaud’s Phenomenon) e.g. Calcium Channel Blockers which are heart and blood pressure medication.


Diabetes is of course, an abnormally high blood sugar level due to absolute or relative insulin deficiency. It can cause feeling of cold by different mechanisms:

  • effect on the circulation
  • effect on the nervous system


Hypoglycemia is an abnormally low blood sugar level. It can result from treatment with blood sugar medication. But it can also occur in non-diabetic people.

A low blood sugar level produces, among its symptoms, a feeling of cold. This is because glucose is THE energy fuel of the body.


There are many medical causes of feeling cold. If you cannot find an obvious reason for feeling cold, please use this article as a reference to figure out if there could be a health issue. Then seek professional help as appropriate.


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16 Replies to “Why Am I Cold All Time?”

  1. Thank you for your post. It is a timely article for me. I feel cold all the time. I think about finding the causes, but never take time to do the research.

    Here comes your article, which provides a lot of useful information. I particularly like your description Why Am I Cold? From the list you described, the reason for my low tempearture may be ingestion of a cold liquid or food. I love cold stuff and have them all the time. 

    It seems to me that this is not a big issue, since there is no any disease related to my cold body. But I need to change my life habits and try to maintain my body temperature in the normal range.

    1. Hello Anthony,

      I am so happy that you bumped into something that has been of use to you, and that the article has saved you from the trouble of having to research.

      Congratulations on finding out that you may not be sick after all. Do make yourself comfortable though.


  2. Hello,

    This is very interesting. I did not know that there were so many causes to feeling cold. 

    I knew that it was a good thing to sweat when you have a fever, because you are basically sweating the fever out, right? I did not realize, however, why a human could feel cold even during a fever. Your explanation made it very clear to me.

    It also never occurred to me that our normal body temperature is indeed way above what we know as “room temperature”, and yet it works perfectly in that temperature. It’s fascinating! Thank you for this enlightening article. I learned a lot today 🙂

    1. Hello Christine,

      Thanks for your valuable input; you are a real star!

      Yes indeed, sweat “washes” the fever away. It incredibly cools the skin.

      I am glad we have been able to share a great deal of physiology today.

      Warmest regards. 😊

  3. Hi,

    Interesting topic because is all about why you are feeling cold. It further explain why someone is feeling cold. It goes further if the room is at normal room temperature and the body is at a higher temperature. The cold has to do with health. There could be health issues in the body. 

    Thank you.


  4. This is a very good article that speaks basically in what the causes it cold is. I have been having this issue constantly lately which I think is very hard for me to deal with. I mean being cold for too long and not being able to deal with the issue immediately. I’m happy you’re able to tell me the possible causes. I might be low on sugar.

    1. Thanks very much for sharing your story.

      I will attach the links to the article, which include a blood sugar machine.


  5. Interesting article! I have wondered why I feel cold after eating ice cream or drinking a beverage with ice in it.

    Is it a bad idea to eat something cold when I am already feeling cold? Or would it be better to warm up first before I consume something cold?

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Brendon,

      Thanks for reading through the article and providing valuable feedback.
      It does happen – we feel extremely cold every now and then, and we wonder why. We notice that this horrible feeling usually comes on suddenly.
      I personally had a time period like that. But as a Health professional, I eventually picked up that the cold feeling started soon after drinking cold water. I had started a very strict program of hydration and was taking water throughout the day.
      And drinking water became second nature. So much that I didn’t realise when the temperatures did not favour it.
      How did I solve the problem? This will answer your question. There was no going back for me. I still take water throughout the day up to now. It’s a healthy practice that has become even more important now because of climate change. So I simply attended to taking warm to hot water when conditions are cold. That also has profound health benefits, plus you could even add lemon to the hot water.
      In terms of cold foods like ice cream, which some of us are fond of, it would be advisable to avoid them on very cold days, especially when it could be hard to warm up (e.g. you have to be out in the cold afterwards). Or you could precede them by a drink of hot water. We actually do need to accompany the “bad” drinks and snacks with pure good old water.
      My concern about allowing our bodies to cool down too much, is that this has potential harm. For example, our immune systems are temporarily suppressed (become sluggish) by cold. And this opens us up for infections, some of which are serious.
      Warmest regards!

  6. I often feel this way. No matter what it seems like I am often cold. I have been borderline anemic since I was a child and I do take extra iron and try to eat a healthy diet now because of it. My doctor never relayed the cold feeling to my anemia though after reading this article it makes perfect sense to me now. I will start monitoring my feelings of cold and my anemia to see if that is the case.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I wonder if you have had the cause of your anaemia determined?

      You can step up the treatment of the anaemia e.g. by taking your Iron along with Vitamin C. But the underlying cause of the anaemia has to be established. What if your anaemia is caused by Folate or B12 deficiency?

  7. It is very important to monitor one’s health and watch out for the red flags that indicate a need to visit the doctor especially during the times we are in where a virus is running rampant so this article cannot be taken with a grain of sand as it is very important and vital to know what cold is an indicator of at various times. Thank you for sharing this. 

    1. You are so right! Ignoring symptoms and signs that could be indicative of an infectious disease, could be very dangerous at this particular point in time!

  8. Hello Doctor, thanks for the enlightenment you have given here. I have seen a couple of people complain about cold often and it’s really good to see various reasons that could be causing it here and for me, I mostly fall into fever often and I guess I’ll start going for a check-up more often than I used to. 

    1. Hello Justin,

      I am glad that you found the article useful. I certainly agree with going for regular check ups, where all your vital signs can routinely be checked.

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