Health Advice



Why you get the shivers

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

When Ed Sheeran sings "You make me shiver with the fire you got ... You know you make me shiver-er-er," he's describing the goose-bumpy feeling you can get from intense emotions -- triggered by everything from fear to desire. But most of the time, shivers are your body's way of raising your core temperature by relaxing and contracting your muscles rapidly. They can be caused by acute problems like infection or even a hangover. But when they're persistent, it's likely related to a chronic disorder -- and getting that diagnosed will warm you up and make you healthier! If you have the shivers, here's what to do:

-- Get tested for low thyroid -- you may have the autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's disease or an inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis).

-- Get screened for anemia (low iron levels). In addition to the chills, anemia can cause pale skin, brittle nails, even shortness of breath and trouble concentrating.

-- Chilly hands and feet (but nowhere else) may be caused by Raynaud's disease. That affects around 5% of Americans. There are several diagnostic tests.

-- Check your vitamin B12 levels. A deficiency can be signaled by chills along with numbness or tingling in the hands and legs. Supplements or injections can help.

-- If you contend with insomnia, talk to a sleep specialist to find ways to overcome it. Turns out, lack of sleep makes your hypothalamus sluggish -- and it's the part of your brain that controls body temperature.


Frequent chills are a sign that you should talk to your doc today -- so you can have a warmer, healthier tomorrow.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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