The normal temperature of the body lies between 37.5 degree centigrade and 38.5 degree centigrade. However, depending upon where the temperature is measured, there are minor variations. The temperature measured under the arm is the lowest at 37.2 degree centigrade while that in the anus is highest at 38.3 degree centigrade.
Body temperature is normally regulated by the hypothalamus. There are several factors that can interfere with the body’s natural temperature regulation system and result in either elevation of body temperature (referred to as hyperthermia) or fall in the body temperature (referred to as hypothermia).The mechanism for both the condition varies considerably.
Regulation Of Body Temperature
The hypothalamus is often referred to as the body’s thermostat. The hypothalamus has a specific set point, which is meant to maintain the internal temperature of the body to an optimum level to ensure that various metabolic functions are performed normally.
In case the body’s internal temperature raises, the hypothalamus triggers, vasodilatation in the skin tissue, which increase the blood circulation to the skin and aids in losing excess heat. Vasodilatation is often accompanied with sweating.
On the other hand, in cases when the internal temperature of the body falls below the thermostat set point of the hypothalamus, a trigger causes vasoconstriction, which reduces blood circulation to the skin and in turn reduces heat loss.In case the vasoconstriction response is not adequate, the hypothalamus may induce shivering to produce more heat.
Problems With Regulating Body Temperature
There are certain conditions that are associated with alteration in the normal body temperature regulation system, as they interfere with various other metabolic and hormonal functions in the body.
- Pyrogens which can include bacteria or viruses can result in alteration of the body’s temperature regulation system. It is believed that the body raises its internal temperature to destroy these pyrogens or prevent them from multiplying in the blood stream.
- Hormonal irregularities like hyperthyroidism, is associated with increased basal metabolic rate. Higher basal metabolic rate tends to increase the production of heat in the body, which in turn is associated with a constant feeling of heat. Similarly on the other hand, hypothyroidism is associated with fall in the metabolic rates which in turn can result in constant feeling of coldness.
- Other conditions that may cause problems in body temperature regulation system include metabolic disorders like gout, etc. Chronic and debilitating disease conditions like cancer and HIV AIDS are also associated with alternation of the normal homeostasis of the body and can result in temperature regulation problems.
Temperature Regulation Treatments
The treatment would depend upon the underlying cause of the problem; however there is some simple advice to manage the condition,
- Avoid refined and processed foods. Instead increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Increase the intake of dietary fiber in the form of whole grains.
- Drink adequate quantity of water each day. Water plays a crucial role in regulating the internal temperature of the body.
- Spicy foods, meat and oily foods are considered to be heat generating foods while milk and dairy products are considered to be cooling foods. These foods should be included in the diet accordingly.