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Are You Cold, Then Hot? These 4 Conditions May Affect Body Temperature

22nd August 2015

When your body is exposed to extremely low temperatures for several hours, it loses heat faster than it can produce it, so your body temperature may drop to dangerous levels.

This leads to a condition called hypothermia, which appears when the temperature drops below 95 degrees F, or 35 degrees C. Hypothermia manifests through excessive shivering, weak pulse, slowed breathing and speech, excessive fatigue, stumbling and clumsiness, and can be fatal if the body temperature remains low for several hours.

Although hypothermia occurs only in extreme situations, it’s not uncommon for one to experience frequent variations in body temperature. Being too cold, then too hot and again too cold may indicate that something is not working properly inside the organism.


Minor changes in body temperature are normal


In a healthy adult, the body temperature varies between 97.7 and 99.5 F, or 36.5 and 37.5 C. This value is called normothermia and may vary by about 0.9 F (0.5 C) during the day, values being slightly lower in the morning and higher in the afternoon and evening. The lowest value of one’s body temperature is usually registered during the second half of the sleep cycle, when the metabolic function slows down in order to allow the body to recover and recharge its energy reservoirs.

Body temperature varies with the season, and is influenced by physical activities, values being higher after a training session. In the same manner, eating and drinking increase the overall body temperature, as the body burns those calories and produces energy and heat. On the other hand, fasting decreases the body temperature, so people who are on a diet that restricts the calorie intake may have lower body temperature values.

The temperature of the human body decreases with age and is sensitive to changes in hormone levels, being slightly higher after ovulation. Sleeping in a cold room decreases body temperature, and wearing more clothing raises these values, but all these variations are normal and are not a sign of disease. There are, however, certain conditions that may also lead to changes in body temperature, so it’s time to take a look at some potentially threatening causes of unstable body temperature.


Conditions that may cause variations in body temperature


1. Hypothyroidism

If you feel cold, then suddenly you’re hot without adjusting the room temperature, it may be due to a thyroid problem. Thyroid, an endocrine gland located above the collarbone, is responsible for regulating the metabolism, heart rate and body temperature.

When this gland produces too much thyroid hormone, your temperature increases; on the other hand, when the production of T3 and T4 decreases, your body temperature drops as well. These two hormones control the way your body uses its energy, and low levels of thyroid hormones lead to a slow metabolism and to symptoms like fatigue and weakness, depression, constipation, increased sensitivity to cold, brittle nails and hair and heavier menstrual flow in women.

Left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to puffiness in the face, hands and feet, obesity, thickened skin, decreased sense of taste and smell, fertility problems, joint pain and even heart disease. It’s therefore important to check your thyroid hormone levels if you experience hot flashes, night sweats and you’ve very sensitive to cold temperatures.


2. Adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a common cause of hypothyroidism, so if your adrenal glands are exhausted, this will affect the production of thyroid hormones as well.These two glands are located on top of your kidneys, and produce hormones like cortisol, which regulates metabolism and dictates how your body reacts to stress, and adrenaline, which is also involved in stress management.

When the adrenals are tired and can’t manage the stress and energy requirements properly, they force the organism to conserve some of its energy, and the lower energy output reduces the workload of the body. This is useful for your body, but leads to low thyroid function and consequently to low body temperature.

Adrenal fatigue manifests through high levels of fatigue and difficulty getting up in the morning, even after a restful sleep, an inability to handle stress properly which leads to increased emotional and physical stress, cravings for salty foods, high energy levels in the evening, due to spikes in cortisol levels in the late afternoon, as well as immunity problems and frequent inflammation.

Other potential symptoms of adrenal fatigue are allergies and respiratory problems, dry skin, dark circles under the eyes, joint pain, frequent urination, extreme tiredness after exercise, dizziness, loss of muscle tone, low blood sugar levels and hypotension, lower back pain, numbness in fingers, poor circulation, low sex drive and weight gain.


3. Altered insulin sensitivity

It is well known that people affected by type 1 diabetes tend to have lower body temperatures, and those suffering from type 2 diabetes also tend to have fluctuations in core body temperature when the levels of blood sugar aren’t properly controlled. When the body doesn’t produce or doesn’t use insulin properly, the core temperature varies, as this hormone is involved in the metabolic process that results in energy and heat production.

Although it isn’t yet clear why this happens, scientists have discovered that there is a direct link between insulin and core body temperature, the hormone being part of the organism’s internal “thermostat”.

In a healthy individual, the body increases its production of insulin when the core temperature needs to increase, and scientists have found that injecting this hormone into a certain area of the brain can cause the core body temperature to rise, accelerating metabolism and activated brown adipose tissue. Brown fat prompts the body to burn white fat and produce energy and heat, so all these mechanisms work together in increasing the metabolic rate and core body temperature.


4. Septicemia

Also referred to as blood poisoning, septicemia occurs when a bacterial infection affects the circulatory system. The infection can quickly progress and can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening complication that manifests through inflammation, blood clots, impaired delivery of oxygen to tissues, organ failure and in some cases death.

Septicemia can occur as a result of urinary tract infections, lung infections or abdominal infections, the initial symptoms including chills and increased body temperature, increased heart rate and fast respiration.

As the condition progresses, red dots may appear on the skin, and the patient may experience confusion. The urine volume decreases and one may experience shock as a result of inadequate blood flow. Septicemia is a rare but very serious condition that can become life-threatening if treatment is delayed.

All these potential causes of altered body temperature can lead to severe complications, so if you experience the mentioned symptoms, make sure to schedule and appointment with your doctor.

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2 responses to “Are You Cold, Then Hot? These 4 Conditions May Affect Body Temperature”

  1. Juathenia Thenia says:

    So when your body goes from hot 2 cold doesn’t always been that u have the flu.I myself do have type 2 diabetes militis.I have hi & lo blood spikes.Ii Really dont wish 2 die from either of the 2.So im thinkin n order 2 find out if i have anything like this Septicemia.The test would have 2 b sum sort of Thyroid test rite.Now this hot & cold feelings i was getting this mornin only lasted about a 1/2 an hr.Years ago.I guess about oh im not sure.So im gonna guess at r around 2002.I woke up with hot & cold flashes.But by the x i got dressed 4 work.Everything was fine.So its 2018 now.Like i said it only lasted 1/2 an hr.Same as the 1’st 1.And! No I’ve never had the flu.I’ve been type 2 diabetic sense March or May of 2010.

  2. Kim L. says:

    I have the issue for bout 2 years. My feet are cold more than usual and I get real hot. I’ve been wondering about diabetes myself. Thank you for the information. Sometimes I have numbness in my first two fingers. Let me know if you have more information and suggestions as to what I should do.

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