November 14


Is it True That Those with Diabetes Feel the Cold More?

By Gabriela

November 14, 2021

Diabetes can cause numerous health complications, and one of them is to feel cold and numb in different parts of the body, especially in the legs and arms. The way we manage our diabetes is not the only factor that affects our natural heat regulation.

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

Reasons Why We Feel Cold More Than Those Without Diabetes

1. Metabolic Disorder

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

2. Nerve Damage

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

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

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

3. Hypoglycemia

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

4. Lack of Insulin

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

5. High Insulin Levels

High insulin levels which remain for a longer time in those 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 the fat which impedes the smooth blood flow throughout the body, causing the body to feel cold.

How to Warm Up Our Body

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

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

Stay Active

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

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

Build Muscle

Along with heart-pumping exercises, we should also do some lightweight 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 our chilly feelings. The reason for that might be the part of the brain responsible for maintaining the body temperature, the hypothalamus.

Increase Our Iron Intake

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

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

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

Sources: | Dario Health | WebMD


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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