As people age, many report feeling chilly even when the temperature outside is warm. Studies have shown that older people are more likely to have slightly colder body temperatures than their younger counterparts. Feeling cold can be the result of the natural aging process, or it may be symptomatic of a medical condition. Understanding the reasons behind chilliness can help people take proper action.
Aging adults can feel cold for various reasons. As people age, their metabolisms slow down, leading to decreased energy. During times of low energy output, one can feel cold. The American Geriatric Society Foundation for Health suggests that individuals with slower metabolisms may not produce enough heat from their own bodies to stay warm.
Circulation issues also may be a concern. As people age, the walls of their blood vessels may lose their elasticity, negatively affecting circulation as a result. Vasoreceptors also may no longer be as quick to direct blood vessels in order to constrict to keep body temperature up.
Inadequate fat storage may also be a contributor. Older people generally have less subcutaneous fat stores and muscle mass, both of which can insulate their bodies from cold weather. As a result, they may have trouble regulating body temperature. Exercise and healthy eating may help remedy this situation.
Certain medical conditions or medications may be to blame, too. SUNY Upstate Medical University offers that some drugs, like beta blockers, can decrease heart rate, which can reduce circulation to the extremities. High cholesterol levels can impair blood flow. Hypothyroidism, or an underperforming thyroid, also can affect a person's ability to regulate body temperature. It's imperative that people speak with their doctors to rule out any medical conditions or medication issues that may be contributing to their feelings of being cold.
The following are some additional steps aging men and women can take to stay warm.
• Make sure you are at a healthy weight for your gender and age.
• Get the cardiovascular system pumping by exercising more.
• Layer clothing until you feel comfortable so that you are not adjusting the thermostat as frequently.
• Wear a vest to keep your chest warm to prevent heat being drawn from the extremities. Often the body will sacrifice heat in the hands and feet to keep its core warm.
• Invest in wool socks and blankets, as wool will help wick away moisture from the body.