Can the temperature of a human body be lower than 35oC?

The answer to a question from a few weeks ago about why body temperature is 36 C has raised new questions about body temperatures below that figure to which I will try to answer. The first interesting fact to keep in mind is how we measure body temperature. Normally, the thermometers we have at home usually reach up to 34 C, and let's say that in those low sections they are less reliable. In medicine we talk about low temperature, that is, hypothermia, when we are below 35 c. In the previous article I explained that the normal average temperature in humans is between 36.4 -C and 36.7 -C. But keep in mind that that's the median from a statistical point of view, which means that there will be some people with a slightly lower or slightly higher normal body temperature.

Between 35 -C and 36 -C is a fork in which we consider that it can be a symptom of some pathology but also that there are people with that temperature without anything serious happening to them. But below 35 'C is already considered pathological, we're talking about hypothermia,

The most common causes of hypothermia are accidental ones, when people are exposed to ambient cold, such as those that get lost in the mountain in winter or fall into icy waters

The most common causes of hypothermia are accidental ones, when people are exposed to ambient cold, such as those lost in the mountain in winter or fall into icy waters; hypoglycaemia, low blood glucose (what we commonly know as "having low sugar") are also a relatively common cause because when you have low blood glucose, it also decreases in your brain and alters your body's thermostat. Alcohol consumption is another common cause of hypothermia. Alcoholic beverages affect the central nervous system, meaning they "numb" the brain and make it not wonder that you're cold. There are many people who believe that alcohol is used to combat the cold, but what happens is just the opposite. When you drink an alcoholic drink you have a feeling of flushing and warmth as soon as you ingest it because when you reach the stomach it passes very quickly into the blood. But in reality, what you're causing is vasodilation, that is, blood vessels widening. And when you have a lot of pipes (blood vessels) that dilate near the skin that is in contact with a cold environment what happens is that you start to lose heat much faster. So the theory that alcohol gives you heat isn't right. There are also certain drugs (some anesthetics, for example) and some drugs (heroin) that produce the same reaction.

One of the questions is whether thyroid gland malfunction can also cause low temperature and the answer is yes. When the thyroid works less than necessary (people who have hypothyroidism), it causes a decrease in thermoregulatory response and basal metabolism.

Thyroid gland malfunction can also cause low temperatures

we've also been asked if body temperature is weight related. The answer is that it is not so much related to weight but to the basal metabolism that each organism has. There may be very thin people who don't feel cold and have slightly higher body temperature. And conversely, a person with more kilos may have a lower basal metabolism and have their machinery to produce heat take much longer to start and therefore feel cold. These changes are influenced by a type of fat that we have in the body called brown fat,

Another question is about the relationship between temperature and infections. A reader asks us if having the lower body temperature is more prone or prone to infections. The answer is that there is no difference if we talk about a temperature above 35.5 cC. But there is more risk in hypothermia, i.e. below 35 c.C. For example, by medical protocol, when a person falls into cold water, the first thing we have to do is see if he breathes or not, if his heart beats, etc; Then we need to raise your temperature and the next step is to prevent infections, with prophylactic antibiotics


And the last question is what to do to raise the temperature. The first thing is to rule out causes such as physical problems, for example, people who have had a stroke, who are in a coma, have hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, tumors, dementia, kidney problems, an infection or who are taking certain drugs. In those cases, what they have to do is solve that problem that causes the low temperature. But always, to combat the low temperature you have to try to isolate yourself from the cold (put on more warm clothes, avoid moisture), introduce heat into the body (drink something hot without alcohol) and generate heat (move, exercise or eat some food that gives us calories).