• Question: Why does some people feel the cold more than others?

    Asked by annaharrison to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 26 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 26 Jun 2012:

      I always thought it was to do with circulation, or rather the lack of it, in people who feel cold, but have now found out that if blood circulates better it actually leads to more heat loss through the extremities.

      I’d be really interested to know if any of you other guys has a sensible answer…

    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 26 Jun 2012:

      I’ve thought for a while about this but I really don’t know! I know that one factor is how healthy you are, and how much fat you have in your body. Fat is a good insulator – it’s one of the reasons polar bears can survive living in such cold parts of the world!

      But that can’t be the only reason, I think. I’m not the slimmest person in the world, and I still get cold!

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 27 Jun 2012:

      In our skin there are some proteins that sit at the end of certain nerves. These proteins act as receptors and when we are cold (moderately cold, not nearly-frost-bitten-cold!) the receptors are activated and they trigger a signal to go up the nerve to our spinal cord. This is how we sense the cold (or at least, it is one of the main ways.)

      I don’t know but perhaps some of us have more of these cold nerves than others? Or perhaps people have more of the receptor protein?

      There are also certain conditions that can make us feel the cold more readily like hypothyroidism.