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Low Body Temperature Causes

When the body temperature of an individual drops below normal levels it could be dangerous for them. Hence it is vital to be aware of the various causes and effects of such a condition. Here we discuss the probable causes of low body temperature.
Rahul Thadani
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
One of the most effective ways to judge the health of a person is by measuring their body temperature. This is an accurate means for many medical experts around the world to detect the presence of any form of disease or illness. The body temperature is just a measure of the body's ability to maintain its temperature levels in spite of the surrounding external temperature.
There are various causes of low body temperature, and for a doctor to simply guess what the cause is, would be fairly unprofessional. The lowering of body temperature of an individual usually accompanies many other symptoms, and therefore, a careful investigation is required.
What is Low Body Temperature?
A temperature of 98.6º F is considered to be the average normal temperature. However, the normal body temperature range is 98.2±1.3º F. When the body temperature drops below normal levels it is called hypothermia. Lowering of the body temperature, or hypothermia, disrupts the natural working processes of the body. The normal level of body temperature gives the body a sense of stability and equilibrium, and it is the ideal temperature for carrying out various metabolic processes.
Certain fluctuations are not a cause for alarm, but individuals need to understand when the situation is escalating out of hand. The normal body temperature range can vary throughout the course of a day.
Possible Reasons for Low Body Temperature
The most common cause of hypothermia is a drop in the temperature of the environment around a person. Exposure to any environment where the temperature is lower than your body can lead to hypothermia if the exposure is prolonged and if you are inadequately covered. The following are some hypothermia causes:
  • Wearing insufficient warm clothes in winter season.
  • Being exposed to air conditioning that is too cold.
  • Immersion in extremely cold water.
  • Spending too much time in soaked clothes.
  • Lack of proper heating at home or workplace.
  • Staying out in a cold environment for too long.
  • Excessive and prolonged use of antipyretics.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.
Most of these situations can be rectified if you are feeling uncomfortably cold. To ensure that you are protected against these external influences that commonly lead to low temperature, you must dress in warm clothes when it is cold, and you must make sure that your heating facilities are in good working condition.
▶ Ovulation
There are various hormonal changes that constantly take place in a human body. Many of these changes display themselves externally, and one of the most common effects of these fluctuations is a change in the body temperature. This is very true, especially in case of women. During a woman's menstrual cycle, or during ovulation, a woman may experience abnormal changes in body temperature. Some women may end up with a higher than normal temperature, whereas, some, may notice a sharp drop. This is nothing to be alarmed about and after a while, the temperature will stabilize on its own.
▶ Wilson's Temperature Syndrome
Abbreviated as WTS, this condition was discovered by E. Denis Wilson. This condition is nothing but a collection of unrelated and unpredictable symptoms that arise in the human body, one of which is low body temperature. The thyroid hormone T3 (triiodothyronine) regulates the temperature in the cells of the body, but when the conversion of T4 hormone (thyroxine) is afflicted, the temperature suffers as a result. Though official medical channels have not accepted the existence of this condition, nor do they advocate the remedies that are suggested for it, alternative medicine acknowledges this condition.
▶ Other Causes
There are a few diseases and disorders that are known to cause a drop in body temperature. Some of them are as follows:
  • Adrenal problems
  • Anemia or Porphyria
  • Diabetes
  • Hepatitis C
  • High exposure to carbon monoxide
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Infection caused by parasites or worms
  • Kidney diseases
  • Liver diseases
  • Low thyroid problems (hypothyroidism)
  • Poisoning by mercury or other heavy metals
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Sleep disorders
Experiencing this phenomenon once in a while is perfectly normal, as the body will not maintain a constant temperature throughout the day. But a regular dip in body temperature for a prolonged period usually denotes that the individual is suffering from some ailment. If this is the case, you will need to visit a doctor immediately to ensure that everything is alright.
Apart from feeling cold, there are some other symptoms of having low body temperature. These are:
  • Shivering
  • Low heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
Body temperature that is unusually low can prove dangerous, so due care must be taken if an individual is feeling very cold and is noticeably shivering a lot. This is the body's response to the low temperature as overworking the muscles causes them to heat up. The activities and symptoms of the afflicted person need to be closely observed, and if anything seems suspicious a medical expert should be consulted.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.