Ask the doctor: Why do I always feel so cold?

Q. My husband is always warm, and I'm always cold, no matter what the time of year. Are women just naturally colder than men, or could there be something wrong with me?

A. What you're describing may be perfectly normal. The reason you're cold has to do with our bodies' self-preservation mechanisms. Whenever the temperature drops, tiny blood vessels called capillaries under the skin constrict, diverting blood away from our hands and feet to our vital organs—including our heart and lungs—where it's needed most. In women, this process occurs faster than in men, which is one reason why we feel colder than them. This is especially true as we age, because our basal metabolic rate slows, so we burn fewer calories and generate less heat. We also lose the subcutaneous fat under our skin, which means we have a little less insulation from the cold.

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