Cold intolerance is an abnormal sensitivity to a cold environment or cold temperatures.
Sensitivity to the cold; Intolerance to cold
Cold intolerance can be a symptom of a problem with metabolism.
Some people (often very thin women) do not tolerate cold environments because they have very little body fat and are unable to keep warm.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Blood vessel (vascular) problems, such as Raynaud's phenomenon
- Chronic severe illness
- General poor health
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)
- Problem with the hypothalamus (a part of the brain that controls many body functions, including body temperature)
Follow the recommended therapy for treating the cause of the problem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have long-term or extreme intolerance to cold.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
Your health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.
Your provider's questions may include the following topics.
- Have you always been intolerant of cold?
- Has this developed recently?
- Has it been getting worse?
- Do you often feel cold when other people do not complain of being cold?
- What is your diet like?
- How is your general health?
- What are your height and weight?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Tests that may be performed include:
If your health care provider diagnoses cold intolerance, you may want to include the diagnosis in your personal medical record.
Kim M, Ladenson P. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 233.
Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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