During the first warm months, and regardless of the weather, the temperatures and the perception of the people around us, there are those who often feel a sensation of cold or chills: it is intolerance or hypersensitivity to cold.

The causes can be different and related to many diseases, disorders or even temporary states of our body, it was discussed in an interview with Professor Daniela Lucini, Head of Medicine of Humanitas exercise.


The lack of red blood cells due to anemia may be one of the reasons why, in addition to fatigue and weakness, you always feel cold. There are several types and causes of anemia, including hereditary, environmental and nutritional ones (such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiency).


Poor circulation also causes hypersensitivity to cold: circulatory problems, for example, can cause the hands and fingers to feel particularly cold. In particular, a specific circulatory condition called Raynaud’s disease is characterized by an episodic narrowing of the blood vessels, which makes the fingers or the toes appear pale and always colder than the rest of the body. Shaking or massaging the hands or feet is not enough so it is important to consult a specialist or general practitioner.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is another major cause of cold intolerance. This dysfunction is a medical problem that requires an ad hoc evaluation and treatment: there are in fact different types of thyroid diseases. Blood tests can identify the type of problem and treat the disease with medication.

Fatigue and tiredness

Lack of sleep, or jet lag, and simply tiredness can make you feel colder: in this case the feeling should disappear once you have rested enough.


When an infection is in progress you can experience shivers that in many cases alternate with feelings of heat: in this case the feeling of cold is largely due to the fact that the body consumes so much extra energy to fight it.

Nerve injury and neuropathies

When nerve damage occurs, for example due to a traumatic accident, which damages all or part of a nerve, in addition to the lack of nerve function, people report a persistent feeling of cold or hypersensitivity to cold in the area of the body governed by the damaged nerve. Neuropathies in general, which lead to a hypersensitivity of the nerves can cause hypersensitivity to cold.

Malnutrition and thinness

Malnutrition, i.e. incorrect absorption of food nutrients by our body, is one of the main causes of anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and – as seen above – can also lead to a cold sensation.

In the same way, extreme thinness and eating disorders lead those who suffer from them to often feel a feeling of cold: body fat, in fact, isolates the body while the muscle helps the body to produce heat through metabolism. If you are very thin and without muscles you may be hypersensitive to the cold.

Parkinson’s disease

The feeling of cold is one of the least recognized symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Overall, this is related to changes in autonomic function that may occur with Parkinson’s disease. Further neurological investigations may be useful to diagnose the disease, even from this uncommon symptom.

Problems of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus
The pituitary gland in the brain regulates many of the body’s hormones, including the thyroid hormone. Any problems with the function of the pituitary gland can cause problems with temperature regulation, making you always feel too hot or too cold.

Even the hypothalamus, a small region of the brain, regulates hormones throughout the body (including the pituitary gland): it controls several aspects of the body’s condition, including temperature, hydration and blood pressure. In case of malfunction one of the symptoms could be hypersensitivity to cold.