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Readers Respond: How Do You Survive and Thrive During the Cold Weather?

Responses: 68

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Updated January 07, 2010

From the article: Winterize Your Thyroid
Winter...the days are short, temperatures drop, and snow, ice, and cold are frequently in the weather forecast. Thyroid patients, sometimes feeling cold even when it's warm out -- and frequently suffering from cold hands and feet already -- may feel that winter is a particularly tough time. But it doesn't have to be that way. Many thyroid patients have found ways to "winterize" themselves, their health, and their thyroid treatment, so they can enjoy better health during the colder months. Share your tips, ideas, and thoughts about getting through the cold, and read about other patients' ideas now! Share Your Tips

Water

I find one of the big factors summer or winter is to drink heaps of water. I noticed my symptoms get worse when I'm dehydrated. And sadly alcohol, caffeine and sugar and heavily processed foods seem to make things worse too.
—Guest Michelle

Winter Blues

I take 50mcg of Levothyroxine nine months of the year. When winter comes I add another 12 mcg daily. I buy a blister of 25 mcg tablets and break them in half. In my friend's family practically everybody has hypothyroidism, and 87 y.o. "matriarch" is the source of wisdom for us all. It works. A few days into a call weather and I have earwax accumulation, thickening skin, thick calves... upping a dose just a bit does the trick for me.
—Guest Andor

Cold Weather Tips

Low thyroid levels make you GAIN weight not lose it. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include: Increased sensitivity to cold. Constipation. Pale, dry skin. A puffy face, Hoarse voice. An elevated blood cholesterol level. Unexplained weight gain. Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness. Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints. Muscle weakness. Heavier than normal menstrual periods. Depression
—Guest ZQHYlCVp

Heated Mattress Pad Cover

I'm not a big fan of heated blankets, but when I found a heated mattress pad cover I decided to try it. I turn it on before I go to bed and it's nice and toasty when I get in. It's a very subtle heat. I mostly turn it off before I go to sleep.
—Guest Lynn

Stay Warm and Cut Out Cholesterol

I take Niacin, but it only cuts my cholesterol about 30 points. Which is better than a sharp stick, but it's still 250 and I am on a diabetic diet, so it's not what I eat! My liver produces too much.
—Guest msbetss

Winterizing

I don't live without hand and toe warmers. You can by them by the box at Costco. I also own a boot drier to warm my shoes right up! My job is outside and therefore I am in all types of weather. I cannot live without those three things.
—Guest adeana

Light

I am using the SAD light and, for the first time, it's made a huge difference! Start early, start now! Consistency seems to be everything. I placed it on the shelf just above my computer screen and I turn it on every morning for about 15 minutes. I heard that starting to use the light in January is not as effective as starting in November. I feel this year has so, so much better just from turning on the light early.
—Guest lucie13

I Knit!

Not only does knitting keep me warm while I'm doing it, but I can turn out toasty mittens/mitts, scarves, hats, socks and sweaters to keep me warm.
—Guest Jo

Heat Tech Socks

Heat Tech Socks are are fantastic and, if you want to go the whole hog, get heat tech tights and long sleeved tops! They are light as a feather and look good too!
—Guest Annie W

Indoor Exercise!

Last winter I got an old treadmill at a flea market for about $10. That combined with a skipping rope and some old weights from a yardsale totally saved me from slipping out of the habit of exercise when its too cold to go out. Even if you just do some yoga in the mornings, it is sooo helpful with circulation, weight gain and other fun stuff associated with thyroid disease. I also take massive doses of B, C and D vitamins as well as Evening Primrose Oil whenever I get a bout of hair loss (unfortunately seems to happen more often in the winter). Most importantly, just stay active and stay positive! It's easy to feel bummed when the cold months are adding to your symptoms, but its the little things that really help. I try to skip the sugar in my morning coffee and make sure I have a salad every day or doing some morning stretches. Good luck!
—Guest

I Moved

For decades, I was colder than others in winter and withstood summer heat poorly. Believe it or not, I moved more southerly. And more southerly and more. Many cities and states, always south. I had to get warm! I't try and stay out of the afternoon summer heat. I live in Albuquerque now, land of hot desert summers and surprisingly cool, windy winters. Several years ago, when I first started severe hypothyroid treatment, handling cold/heat got better, but still had problems. I took a smidgeon more T4 in the winter and it helped. I also have chronic Lyme. As I got better from hypothyroidism, I didn't need to take the extra smidgeon of T4. Now my thryoid apparently is fine at handling hot/cold. One thing: I'd be nowhere without adding T3 in the form of Nautre-Throid compounded for time release, beginning years ago.
—Guest Diane J. Marie

Stay warm AND cut cholesterol!

Niacin - aka Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid - is the most potent anti-cholesterol agent available OTC. A common side effect is flushing of the skin and a sense of warmth. I take 100 mg 20 minutes before swimming in pools I find too cool for comfort. Those with chronic conditions or who take Rx drugs should ask their pharmacist before starting niacin.
—jaroslaw666

Figuring out what works...

I'm hypothyroid, have Hashimoto's, Raynaud's and osteoarthritis, and I'm a teacher. Tired of my lumps/bumps showing through my clothing, I started wearing Spanx controlwear only to discover how much warmer I felt! (Any brand of control wear will work.) In our school the temp can vary dramatically from one class period to the next and there are lots of drafts, so I always dress in layers, make sure I have a neutral-colored fleece jacket that I leave at school just in case, and a huge cup I can use to zap hot tea in the microwave. Fingerless gloves too. I used to be pretty cavalier about outerwear, but now my leather, plush-lined, hooded, knee-length leather coat is my new best friend. I will NEVER buy another winter coat that isn't leather; they block the wind better than anything else and I am not cold anywhere covered by the coat! I highly recommend remote car starters (my Christmas gift from hubby; what a guy!) & heated seats. Finally, a humidifier at night is a must to sleep well.
—pitathyroid

Staying Balanced

I was dagnosed with a goiter and hypothyroidism last year and developed severe muscle pains this summer which was depressing.I decided to fight back! My energy level has been increased with some form of Pilates as well as my yoga practices and meditations daily. I have also found a natural thyroid supplement that works for me. I layer my clothes, walk everyday and try to take time for myself even though I am a care provider.
—Guest Peggy M Fisher

winter feel good

I personally feel BETTER in the winter. My waistline, cheekbones, etc. return. Summer is very challenging (ice cream, beer, soda, pizza, etc.). The heat depresses me, no energy, etc. The cold is very stimulating, my appetite decreases. It is easier to resist overzealous family members who try to stuff you, by explaining the food sensitivity factor, which fortunately nowadays most folks are aware of, usually after politely declining a few times, people take the hint.
—Guest diana swan

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How Do You Survive and Thrive During the Cold Weather?

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  6. Winter Thyroid Survival Tips: How people with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and other thyroid conditions can feel well during cold weather

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