OPINION: Are you cold all the time?

Maybe your significant other teases you about how cold your hands (or feet) are. Or perhaps you must wear socks whether it's winter or not, and you're still chilly no matter how many hot beverages you drink.

If that sounds like you, maybe it's time to figure out if there's a reason why you are so cold. There could be a medical reason you're feeling physically frigid and ways to treat the root of the matter, such as:

Problem #1: Low body weight

If you have a BMI of 18.5 or less or are 15% or more below the "ideal" weight for your height, that could be why you feel cold. Low body weight might mean that you have less fatty tissue and your body produces less heat.

Recommendation: Eat 5-6 small, nutrient-rich meals instead of 2-3 large meals daily -- this includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean proteins. Exercise also can help by stimulating your appetite and building muscle to help maintain body temperature.

Problem #2: Lack of sleep

You might be grumpy when you don't get enough sleep but fatigue also can lead to chills. Our body temperatures naturally drop during sleep, but sleep deprivation can disrupt the fluctuations of our body temperatures.

Recommendation: Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. Set your thermostat between 60 and 72 degrees, as hot room temperatures can sometimes cause poor sleep.

Problem #3: Anemia

One of the most common causes of being cold is anemia, a condition where low iron levels make it harder for your body to circulate red blood cells. Other signs you may suffer from anemia are pale skin, trouble concentrating, shortness of breath and brittle nails.

Recommendation: Talk to your doctor about changing your diet, taking medications and adding supplements like iron and vitamin B12 to your daily routine.

Problem #4: Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck that regulates metabolism. However, you can develop hypothyroidism when the gland doesn't produce or regulate hormones correctly, causing your metabolism to lower and making you cold. Symptoms of hypothyroidism, other than feeling cold, are dry skin, constipation, thinning hair, weight gain, heavy menstrual periods and fatigue.

Recommendation: Talk to your doctor about testing you for hypothyroidism. Treatments may include hormone therapy.

Problem #5: Dehydration

Though it may be hard to believe, dehydration impacts your body temperature because water helps our bodies regulate temperature. If you're hydrated enough, the water traps body heat and slowly releases it. Other than being cold, signs of dehydration are dizziness, muscle cramps, dry mouth, fatigue and dark-colored urine.

Recommendation: The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine advises men to drink 15.5 cups of water daily and 11.5 cups daily for women.

Problem #6: Unregulated diabetes

Diabetes can cause anemia, kidney and circulation problems, making you feel cold. However, unregulated diabetes also can lead to peripheral neuropathy -- nerve damage in the hands and feet. A sign you could be suffering from the condition is that you feel cold but you are not cold to the touch.

Recommendation: Make an appointment with your doctor. Not only is it important to treat the underlying disease but your physician can help you manage any diabetes-related nerve pain you might be experiencing.

Still not sure why you're cold all the time? Don't give your doctor the cold shoulder. Schedule an appointment with your provider to find out more. To schedule an appointment online, visit NW-Physicians.com today!

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a licensed 73-bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.