Why am I so hot?
July 30, 2012 1:54 PM Subscribe
Why is there such an extreme variation in the way humans perceive and react to the same ambient temperature? Especially in the way I perceive it relative to everyone else around me?
posted by rhiannonstone to health & fitness (20 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I tend to be significantly warmer that most people around me in most situations--that is, I feel like I am warm (as opposed to my internal temperature being higher or my skin feeling warm to the touch) while everyone else around me feels cold. I know everyone's different and there are tons of little not-well-understood variations between human bodies that account for people not perceiving sensations the same way, but this seems to be an extreme variation. I show up for morning bike rides and I'm already starting to feel pleasantly-to-uncomfortably warm while everyone else is shivering in their arm warmers and tights and kindly offering me their jackets. I walk through San Francisco on foggy evenings perfectly comfortable in my short sleeves and strangers cannot resist commenting on how cold I must be. It's not just that I'm warm when others are cold; I can't handle the heat, either. During a recent outing in 95degF weather everyone else was sweating and a little uncomfortable but I was absolutely miserable and could barely handle it, despite being vigilant about staying hydrated and wearing cool, breathable clothes.
Relevant info: I'm a plus-sized woman in my early 30s. I have high blood pressure that's under control with medication but am otherwise in reasonably good health. This has been the case for as long as I can remember, and has remained constant through weight fluctuations, changes in lifestyle and activity level, and moves back and forth across the country. I am equally miserable in dry heat or humidity. I do get cold, too--other weather conditions notwithstanding, 40degF is about when I start feeling cold enough to be uncomfortable and want to do something about it.
So what gives? I sometimes joke with people that "it's all the extra insulation I have!" but I know other people my size who don't overheat like I do. I have a few friends who experience the opposite--they are always freezing--and they attribute it to poor circulation. Is there a similar physiological explanation for why I'm almost always so hot?