Low body temperature in adults is an indicator of bad health. Although, the average body temperature fluctuates due to environmental factors, a sharp increase or decrease in normal body temperature makes us unwell. We all know that the normal range for body temperature has been identified to be 98.6ºF (Fahrenheit), or 37ºC (centigrade). But it's a fact that the normal human temperature varies between 97.5ºF to 98.8ºF (36.4ºC - 37.1ºC). It can vary depending on the activity you're performing and the outer environmental condition. When we fall sick, our body temperature increases and that is termed as fever. In several cases, low temperature can also be a possibility.
Besides the obvious low body temperature symptoms, some other symptoms that include this issue are drowsiness, fatigue and a feeling of weakness or discomfort. Observing the body can also give you a hint about signs of low temperature in adults. For example, due to lower body temperature, it may occur that the toes, palms and fingers appear pale/purple.
Basically, when Hypothermia, that is a medical term referring to low body temperature, is not detected in the early stages (due to a common notion that some people feel more cold than others and there is no medical problem to such people), it may lead to advanced stages that can be dangerous. Shivering, slow heartbeat and confusion are some other initial symptoms of low temperature issues in adults. In extreme cases, it may show signs of loss of consciousness, coma and to worst cases, death of the person. A cardiac arrest and raised plasma and serum levels are just some of the medical conditions due to which there can be risk of acute hypothermia.
If under similar conditions of temperature and weather, you feel more cold than your family members, then certainly, you can be at the risk of hypothermia. If we ignore environmental factors and some factors like wearing wet clothes for long duration, there can be several underlying medical causes of low body temperature in adults.
It has to be understood that the causes of low body temperature due to medical conditions are more severe than those in the initial stages.
- Kidney failure
- Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid)
- Addison's Disease (Adrenal Gland Insufficiency)
- Dysfunction of the Hypothalamus
- Medication side effects
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Liver failure
Diagnosing hypothermia is very important because without a proper diagnosis, it's next to impossible to treat this medical condition. In case of some underlying medical conditions, the root cause of that disease is treated that eventually helps in treating hypothermia. However, in acute cases, like those that have occurred due to long term exposure to harsh climatic conditions, medical experts ensure that the body is warmed properly so that normal body temperature can be restored.
For instance, underarm temperature is maintained by placing hot water bottles, wrapped in cotton socks. Rewarming by using medical techniques must be done by expert medical trainers only. Hospitalization is always recommended in case the patient experience severe symptoms of hypothermia.
Although, relation between body temperature and age or some specific condition is still not very clear, it does have certain effects, when viewed holistically. For instance, body temperature during pregnancy deviates slightly and can be a sign of health concerns. Similarly, during childhood, especially the baby body temperature varies due to the way he or she is dressed up and the environment he/she is living in.