If You're Sensitive to Temperature, Get Your Thyroid Checked, Doctors Say
Experts say feeling too hot or too cold can be a sign of a thyroid problem.
Do you ever feel like you're sweating when everyone else is commenting on how nice the breeze is? Or maybe you're wrapped up with blankets in the office while everyone else is comfortably wearing short sleeves? While being sensitive to certain temperatures may be isolating and frustrating, it could also be a sign that something is amiss with your thyroid. Read on to find out what could be going on with your thyroid and for more advice on this organ, If This Happens When You Eat or Drink, You Need Your Thyroid Checked.
Your thyroid is responsible for regulating body temperature.
"The thyroid gland [is] the body's equivalent of a thermostat," says Sapna Shah, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist with Paloma Health. The hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland are what help regulate your body temperature, so when there is something wrong with your thyroid and too much or too little hormone is produced, "the body doesn't receive appropriate signaling to regulate temperature," Shah explains.
"The symptoms of temperature intolerance vary from person to person," Shah says. "Generally speaking, though, if your sensitivity to heat or cold causes pain, discomfort, or problems with your daily functioning, you may want to consider that something is at play with your thyroid." And for more on your thyroid, If You Notice This on Your Nails, Get Your Thyroid Checked, Doctors Say.
If you get cold very easily, you may have hypothyroidism.
If you tend to run colder than everybody else, that could indicate you have hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, meaning your thyroid gland is not producing as much thyroid hormone as your body needs.
"Hypothyroidism causes slowed-down cells that end up burning a lower amount than usual of energy," explains Sandra El Hajj, NMD, a health professional specializing in Preventive Global Health. "As a result, your body will produce less heat and you start feeling colder than usual. Some may even experience chills too."
Other symptoms that may accompany hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight fluctuation, constipation, dry skin, and easily breakable nails, according to Hajj.
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If you get overheated easily, you may have hyperthyroidism.
On the other hand, an overactive thyroid, referred to as hyperthyroidism, can cause you to feel too hot at times. That's because your thyroid gland is making more thyroid hormone than your body needs, forcing your temperature to rise, which can make you more sensitive to hotter external temperatures.
Shah says you may also experience other symptoms "that feel like the body is speeding up" when you have hyperthyroidism, like restlessness or a fast heartbeat.
And for more signs of health problems, If You're Sweating at Night, It Could Be a Sign of These Kinds of Cancer.
Not treating hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can result in further health complications.
Both Hajj and Shah note that a person whose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism goes undiagnosed or untreated can face significant health complications over time. Untreated hypothyroidism can increase your risk of having dementia and heart disease, Maryann Mikhail, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and medical writer, explained in an article for GoodRx. And, according to the Mayo Clinic, untreated hyperthyroidism can also increase your risk of heart problems, as well as vision loss and brittle bones.
If these two forms of thyroid disease become severe enough, they can be life-threatening. Severe, untreated hypothyroidism can result in Myxedema coma, according to WebMD, and severe, untreated hyperthyroidism can result in a thyroid storm, which raises a patient's fever, causes diarrhea, vomiting, nervousness, confusion, and can also put them into a coma.
However, serious forms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be prevented if you get your thyroid disease diagnosed and treated. To see if you're at risk, your doctor will likely do a blood test to measure how much thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is in your system, Hajj explains. And for more dangerous health concerns, If You Take This Popular Supplement, Your Heart May Be at Risk, Study Says.