DR ELLIE CANNON: Why am I so cold, even when I'm inside with the heat on?

DR ELLIE CANNON: Why am I so cold, even when I'm inside with the heat on?
DR ELLIE CANNON: Why am I so cold, even when I'm inside with the heat on?

I am constantly freezing. I’ll be sitting in my living room with the central heating on and get pangs of cold. 

It’s stopping me leaving the house, as I can wear two thick coats and still be shivering. Is there something wrong with me?

Any dramatic change in your body should prompt a chat with a doctor, especially if it is serious enough to impact normal activities such as going outside.

My first thought would be whether there was a problem with the thyroid gland – a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that’s responsible for regulating the metabolism.

Thyroid conditions cause changes in the way we feel temperature. 

If it becomes underactive – producing less of the hormones it usually produces – you will start to feel the cold much more so than before.

This can occur suddenly and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as tiredness, weight gain and a change in bowel habit and even concentration problems.

Thyroid disease can easily be flagged up by a blood test a GP can arrange. Feeling the cold may also be related to anaemia, when the blood does not carry enough red blood cells.

This is often from a lack of iron in the diet or loss of excess blood during periods. Again this can be detected in blood tests with a GP.

Any dramatic change in your body should prompt a chat with a doctor, especially if it is serious enough to impact normal activities such as going outside. [File photograph]

Any dramatic change in your body should prompt a chat with a doctor, especially if it is serious enough to impact normal activities such as going outside. [File photograph]

Other reasons to be cold could be from medication such as beta-blockers or blood-thinners, or from significant weight loss. 

Sufferers of anorexia feel very cold due to a lack of body fat.

There are certain blood-vessel conditions that are linked to extreme cold, such as Raynaud’s disease or peripheral artery disease, but this tends to be a specific feeling of cold and numbness in the fingers and toes

I recently visited my GP, as I had discovered four lumps above my ear. My GP said they were age-related – I’m 77 – and harmless. 

But my barber still seems concerned. Could I have them removed?

It is wise to be suspicious of lumps and often it’s our barbers or beauticians who notice them first. 

The most common type of lumps on the scalp are sebaceous cysts, also called skin cysts. 

These occur when fluid builds up in a small pocket beneath the skin – when the process of skin-shedding and renewal doesn’t happen as it should in a small area, leading to dead skin cells and oils accumulating.

It is vital, though, that a doctor has seen the lumps – this could simply be via a good-quality photo – and diagnosed them properly, as skin cancer has to be ruled out

It is vital, though, that a doctor has seen the lumps – this could simply be via a good-quality photo – and diagnosed them properly, as skin cancer has to be ruled out

It’s thought almost everyone has at least one at some point. 

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We usually recommend leaving them, as they are benign and cause no problems. They often disappear on their own.

If they are very visible or uncomfortable, or growing large, a GP can refer for them to be removed. 

Under local anaesthetic, a small cut is made on the top of the cyst and the contents removed. This can leave a small scar.

Other than cysts, lumps on the scalp in older age may be senile keratosis. 

These are rough, warty lumps that can occur in anyone and again are so common that most people over the age of 60 have at least one.

It is vital, though, that a doctor has seen them – this could simply be via a good-quality photo – and diagnosed them properly, as skin cancer has to be ruled out.

My five-year-old granddaughter struggles to go to the toilet. 

When I babysit her, I see how she strains for a while and then ends up

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