We are in the middle of a hot Texas summer. The heat practically knocks you over as you step outside. And yet, it’s not uncommon to see someone walking around in the Texas heat wearing long sleeves. Before you label these individuals as crazy for wearing a coat and mittens in sauna-like conditions, consider this: cold sensitivity, cold intolerance and cold hands or feet are common symptoms of hypothyroidism. This may be an extreme example, but if you are cold all the time while everyone else seems to be comfortable or carry around a jacket with you in case you get chilly, you may want to evaluate the further.
Thyroid hormone is essential for your body’s metabolism. Within each one of your cells, you have mitochondria, which are basically tiny little factories that produce the energy necessary to function. Hypothyroidism affects your cell’s energy factories by slowing them down. The heat that is usually produced from this energy begins to ebb as well and your body begins to conserve energy for its most vital organs. Many hypothyroid individuals literally do not have enough energy to heat their bodies.
This is one of the reasons that the symptoms of hypothyroidism are so widespread. Your entire body relies on this cellular-generated energy. The enzymes that catalyze all the necessary reactions in your body also happen to be within these cells. Just as factory workers tend to slow down in suboptimal temperatures, so do the chemical employees within your cells.
One way to determine if you may suffer from hypothyroidism is by measuring your basal metabolic temperature. This is your body’s resting temperature. The best time to take it is before you get moving in the morning and are still lying in bed. It’s important that you be at rest at the time of measurement. If you are a premenopausal woman, you need to take your temperature on the second or third day after your menstrual cycle starts. It’s recommended that you do this for several days. If your temperature is consistently below 97.8 it’s highly indicative that you may suffer from hypothyroidism.
Before you despair about having a low body temperature, know that it can be remedied. With the addition of thyroid hormone, your cellular energy factories can get going again and your symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as being cold all the time, will slowly melt away. So, if you see someone in the dead of summer in a sweater, reconsider that it may just be that their mitochondria aren’t quite doing their job!
Take our symptom checker health quiz to find out if you could have hypothyroidism today!