Is It True That People with Diabetes Feel the Cold More? | Diabetes Health Page

Is It True That People with Diabetes Feel the Cold More?

By NeNa | Articles

Dec 29

Diabetes can cause numerous health complications, and one of them is to feel cold and numb in different parts of the body, especially in legs and arms.

The way you manage your diabetes is not the only factor that affects your natural heat regulation.

Other lifestyle factors like insulin levels, circulation, and nerve problems could also interfere with your internal heating system and cause cold, pain, numbness and tingling sensation.

Reasons Why You Feel Cold More Than Those Without Diabetes

1. Metabolic Disorder

Your metabolism is closely related to your core body temperature. So, since diabetes distorts your metabolic processes, you end up shaking, shivering, and sweating more than others.

2. Nerve Damage

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your nerves in different body parts, especially in your extremities. This condition known as peripheral neuropathy leads to pain, tingling, numbness, and pins and needles sensation in your fingers.

Since these sensations usually stay for a longer time, you might lose your sensitivity, or the opposite – to develop an increased sensitivity which makes any contact painful.

But, the nerves in your extremities are also receiving and transporting the temperature signals to your brain. So, if they are damaged because of diabetes, your feet and hands will feel abnormally cold.

3. Hypoglycemia

People with diabetes can often experience hypoglycemia or a sudden drop in the blood glucose levels. This, in turn, can cause cold sweat and low body temperature, sometimes leading to hypothermia.

4. Lack of Insulin

People with type 1 diabetes have little to no natural insulin in their body. Since this hormone helps increase the temperature in your body, type 1 diabetics could feel cooler than others.

5. High Insulin Levels

High insulin levels which remain for a longer time in people with type 2 diabetes prevent the body cells from producing heat. But, the body needs a certain amount of heat to perform different functions.

So, this leads to storing of the fat which impedes the smooth blood flow throughout the body, causing the body to feel cold.

How to Warm Up Your Body

If the cause of your cold limbs is insulin problems, nerve damage, or poor blood sugar control, you should address the source of the problem. What’s more, the cold weather can make things even worse.

So, you might want to consider the following tips to build body heat naturally.

Stay Active

Exercise can improve your body temperature and diabetes management, especially cardiovascular exercise every day. It will improve your insulin sensitivity and blood flow throughout the body.

What’s more, the effects last a lot longer than the very activity. So, you may finish your exercise, but your metabolism will stay elevated for few more hours. This, in turn, will keep you warm and energized.

Build Muscle

Along with heart-pumping exercise, you should also do some light weight training or resistance training to pack on some muscle. Fat might be an efficient insulator, but it’s the muscles that generate heat in the body.

Get Enough Sleep

Not having a good quality sleep for a few nights can contribute to your chilly feelings. The reason for that might be the part of the brain responsible for maintaining the body temperature, the hypothalamus.

Increase Your Iron Intake

This mineral plays a part in the transfer of heat and nutrients to your body cells. Therefore, lack of iron can deprive your extremities of energy that’s needed to keep them warm.  Also, it can slow down the function of your thyroid gland, making you feel even colder.

Follow these tips to help you stay warm during the cold months, especially if you have diabetes.

Note – do not let your cold fingers prevent you from testing your blood sugar levels. This is a crucial part of the diabetes management, so make sure you warm them by holding a mug of warm tea or a bottle of warm water.