Subnormal body temperature

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A subnormal or low body temperature is a body temperature below the normal, healthy range. Historically a normal body temperature was considered to be 98.6F (37°C), but more recent research has found the healthy temperature range to be between 97.5 F (36.4 C) and 97.9 F (36.6 C).[1]

Body temperature influences[edit | edit source]

Body temperature is known to be slightly higher or lower due to many different influences, including:

  • small variations up or down during a typical day[1]
  • age: infants and children under age 10 have a much lower normal temperature range, adolescents have a lower range to adults, people aged 65 or older have a lower healthy temperature range than younger adults[1]
  • sex, and ovulation[1]
  • where the temperature is taken, e.g., ear (which is considered closest to brain temperature), rectal, oral, forehead[2][3]
  • Differences also exist between different people[4]
  • metabolism and circadian rhythm (body clock)
  • certain chronic medical conditions, (e.g., hypothyroidism: 0.013°C) or higher temperature (e.g., cancer: 0.020°C)[4]

Symptom recognition[edit | edit source]

The Canadian Consensus Criteria recognizes low body temperature as a neuroendocrine system symptom.[5]

However, a study by Jones et al. (1998) found patients meeting the CDC's 1988 Holmes criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome did not have a lowered core body temperature.[6]

Comparison[edit | edit source]

Subnormal body temperature is not the same as hypothermia, which is a medically dangerous body temperature of 95F (35°C) or lower and has complications including frostbite and trenchfoot.[7]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Normal Temperature: What Should Your Body Temp Be?". Cleveland Clinic. October 28, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  2. "High temperature (fever) in adults". National Health Service. April 7, 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  3. Landsman, Ira S.; Hays, Stephen R.; Karsanac, Christopher J.; Franklin, Andrew (2012). "Temperature Monitoring". In Coran, Arnold G. (ed.). Pediatric Surgery. Philadelphia: Mosby. pp. 201–226. ISBN 978-0-323-07255-7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Obermeyer, Ziad; Samra, Jasmeet K.; Mullainathan, Sendhil (December 13, 2017). "Individual differences in normal body temperature: longitudinal big data analysis of patient records". BMJ. 359: j5468. doi:10.1136/bmj.j5468. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 5727437. PMID 29237616.
  5. Carruthers, Bruce M.; Jain, Anil Kumar; De Meirleir, Kenny L.; Peterson, Daniel L.; Klimas, Nancy G.; Lerner, A. Martin; Bested, Alison C.; Flor-Henry, Pierre; Joshi, Pradip; Powles, AC Peter; Sherkey, Jeffrey A.; van de Sande, Marjorie I. (2003), "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols" (PDF), Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, 11 (2): 7–115, doi:10.1300/J092v11n01_02
  6. Hamilos, Daniel L.; Nutter, David; Gershtenson, Josh; Redmond, Daniel P.; Clementi, Jeannie D. Di; Schmaling, Karen B.; Make, Barry J.; Jones, James F. (February 15, 1998). "Core body temperature is normal in chronic fatigue syndrome". Biological Psychiatry. 43 (4): 293–302. doi:10.1016/S0006-3223(97)83214-3. ISSN 0006-3223.
  7. "Hypothermia". MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 9, 2018.