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Cold intolerance


Definition:

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

Alternative Names:

Sensitivity to the cold; Intolerance to cold

Considerations:

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.

Causes:
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.

Your provider's questions may include the following topics.

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 being 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 diagnoses cold intolerance, you may want to include the diagnosis in your personal medical record.

References:

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


Review Date: 5/11/2014
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.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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