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    Cold intolerance

    Sensitivity to the cold; Intolerance to cold

    Cold intolerance is an abnormal sensitivity to a cold environment or cold temperatures.

    Considerations

    Cold intolerance can be a symptom of a metabolic problem.

    Some people (often very thin women) do not tolerate cold environments because they have very little body fat and are unable to keep warm.

    Causes

    • Anemia
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Blood vessel (vascular) problems, such as Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Chronic severe illness
    • General poor health
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Problem with the hypothalamus

    Home Care

    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.

    Medical history questions may include:

    • Time pattern
      • 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 the cold?
    • Medical history
      • 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:

    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Serum TSH
    • Thyroid hormone levels

    If your health care provider diagnosed cold intolerance, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record.

    References

    Kim M, Ladenson P. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 233.

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                  Review Date: 6/1/2012

                  Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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                  St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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