Low body temperature - MS related or just a quirk?

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Low body temperature - MS related or just a quirk?

Postby Wonderfulworld » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:37 pm

I have noticed that I have a very low body temperature recently - about 35.4-35.9 C over the last few weeks. It has had big dips in the past too and I've noticed that this can be when I'm very tired. Could this be any way related to an MS-lesion or does this strike anyone else out there as signficant? Perhaps just one of those quirks ....
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Postby gwa » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:44 pm

My temp runs around 3 degrees below 98.6 at all times, so it may just be a MS thing as far as low body temperature.

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Postby Loobie » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:59 pm

My normal is 97.1 F. It's always been that low. I think that's in the "tolerance" of normal although it is on the low side.
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Postby AllyB » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:39 pm

Hi there

I have noticed that mine is normally around 36C or just below, however, when I have a relapse, it is consistently about 37.5C - I just put this down to the inflammation and immune activity!
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Postby Wonderfulworld » Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:21 pm

That's really interesting that we all have low body temperatures.
I wonder what it could mean...?

And Allyb that is doubly interesting that your temp goes up for relapses. For true relapses I don't know if I've ever checked, just noticed it drops more when I'm run down or very tired, rather than a relapse.

I took my 6 wk old son's temperature now and we are both identical - 35.4. Very low really yet he's not unwell, his hands are warm and he is alert and happy so perhaps he will also just have a naturally low body temp too.

Anyone else?
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Postby jimmylegs » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:10 pm

i can't remember exact numbers, but when i had regular access to a digital thermometer, i'm pretty sure i had a low body temp. what an interesting phenom! mind you i think i was only about a degree low. my naturopath, going back to '06, (who also has ms) asked me to track my temp, but my thermometer sucked and i never bought a better one. perhaps i should investigate this again...
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Postby AllyB » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:39 pm

Hi there

It is really interesting. I have one of those fancy thermometers that go in your ear and it takes the temp in a second (I have two young boys, less than 2 years apart and I needed it when they were babies - still do!), and being an RN, I have always had an interest in my temp - mainly because I was so aware of it going up a bit when I was younger (before I was diagnosed) when, looking back, I must have had 'mild' relapses (or the beginning of ms) - L'Hermittes for a couple of weeks and some numb patches on my leg, or vertigo for a few days - but no doc took an 20-something girl seriously with such "subjective" symptoms, and I was convinced I had some weird viral thing that popped up now and then, hence the slightly increased temp.
Please guys, I truly don't wish a relapse on anyone, but if you have one (and can remember amidst all the feeling awful, fear, panic etc) - check your temp, especially at the beginning of the relapse - it kind of does make sense that when inflammation is very active, your body temp increases as any active immune response (when you have an infection, for example, and also with some allergic responses), and I would be so interested to see if this happens to any one else.
Maybe we all have low temps the rest of the time (35.5 seems about average for this group - mine varies between 35 & 36C) because of the (theoretical) continuous slow effect of ms on the cns affects the brain's ability to regulate temperature - maybe it re-sets it a bit lower to compensate for what might be a continuously increased temp due to low-grade activity...Don't know if I am expressing myself well?

WW - You are right - a lot of people just have lower than normal temps, but the range is usually still 36C - 37 or 37.2C depending on where you take the temp - higher allowed for rectal temps. And people generally have lower temps when tired, and when asleep.
I was a midwife for years, and young babies have a poor (immature) temperature-regulating system in that they battle to heat or cool their own bodies in response to their environment, and in addition they respond to internal bio-rythyms - when asleep, their temps can drop quite quickly although they still feel warm to the touch - this is normal. Also, your reading would depend on what type of thermometer you are using, where you took the temp (under the arm, rectal etc) and what time of day - a body is naturally cooler at certain times of the day and night. Even still, if his temp is a little low, as long as he feels warm to the tough, is dressed appropriately for the environmental temperature and seems comfortable - no worries!
Maybe we have discovered something, or maybe we are just a few folk in this big forum who share a not very rare phenomenon...
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Postby MattB » Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:47 pm

My body temperature as always been a bit more than a degree lower than 98.6. I think the average temp. is actually the average of many different people but there is a range where it is perfectly normal.

It is interesting though that how many of us with MS have the lower body temp. Yet another thing which science could tell us may have something to do with MS yet never prove anything or figure out any solutions.
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Postby TwistedHelix » Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:17 am

I see what you're saying, Ally, but I wonder if it might also work the other way round: an infection causes a rise in body temperature, and that increase contributes to a relapse? This might explain why many people seem to suffer a relapse immediately after infection, and could even describe a mechanism for the two broad types of MS – some infections reside in your body and flare up from time to time, (RRMS), some remain continuously active at a lower level, (progressive MS). This could be why antibiotic regimes help some people, and antivirals help others.

Temperature regulation is sluggish in people with MS: if we are too hot our bodies don't start taking action until about two degrees " later" than healthy people, and if we are too cold we don't start shivering quickly enough either. I've only ever taken my temperature when I felt ill, but it sounds as if continuous monitoring of people with MS might be a very good idea.
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Postby jimmylegs » Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:19 am

so of course i went looking for links between deficiencies and body temperature. if you're a mouse, you could be hypokalemic.
Effect of potassium deficiency on body temperature in mice
<shortened url>
Body temperature in mice fed with a low-potassium diet decreased in a parallel way to the diminution of plasma potassium concentration. Both parameters were restored after potassium replenishment.

if you're a rat, maybe thiamine is the problem?:
Thiamine Deficiency-Induced Disruptions in the Diurnal Rhythm and Regulation of Body Temperature in the Rat
http://www.springerlink.com/content/h433756l4471r270/
diurnal rhythm and regulation of body temperature were monitored during and several weeks following pyrithiamine-induced thiamine deficiency (PTD group, n=8) or pairfeeding (control group, n=9). A significant decline of core body temperature and a disruption of its diurnal rhythm were observed at varying stages of PTD treatment.

if you're female, iron could be involved in more than one way:
Mild Iron Deficiency Lowers Cognitive Function In Women
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002058.html
Some of the known consequences of iron deficiency are reduced physical endurance, an impaired immune response, temperature regulation difficulties, changes in energy metabolism, and in children, a decrease in cognitive performance as well as negative affects on behavior. While iron deficiency was once presumed to exert most of its deleterious effects only if it had reached the level of anemia, it has more recently become recognized that many organs show negative changes in functioning before there is any drop in iron hemoglobin concentration.

it's also interesting that when people have inflammatory conditions, that iron results come back higher than they actually are - i'm not sure how this works but the levels get overestimated. so as an inflammatory disease patient of any kind, you need to make sure there's no maybes about your iron status!
well anyway i should go find myself a decent thermometer and see if my recent supplementation efforts have changed those old low temp results!
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Low temperature and insulin

Postby lyndacarol » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:55 am

I read so much and can't always remember the source of info. Here is another prime example. I'll have to rely on friends here to check on me.

I have read that people with excess insulin have a low basal body temperature (temp taken first thing in the morning before getting out of bed--normally this is 97.6F; mine used to run about 97.0F, but now ranges from 96.3F to 96.8F).

And concerning iron, I gleaned this interesting tidbit from InFocus, December 2007 (a publication of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association), in an article about Celiac Disease (another "autoimmune" disease that many with MS also report). This article was adapted from "Celiac Disease: The Facts," AARDA; available free upon request.
The immune system responds to the gluten by destroying the small hair-like villi lining the small intestine which allow nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Since iron and calcium are absorbed in the small intestine, celiac patients can develop iron deficiency anemia and osteoporosis. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to other forms of anemia......

While gluten is the known primary environmental trigger for celiac disease, other triggers are possible. Repeated viral infections in infants and children are thought to trigger celiac disease, and surgery also may be a trigger. Hormones may be a factor since celiac is often activated after childbirth when a woman's hormonal balance changes markedlyl. It is known that testosterone levels in men with celiac are lower than the general population.

Breast milk appears to offer some protection against the disease by safeguarding children from developing celiac and in delaying its onset in children who eventually develop the disease. It is known that children who are not breastfed and who are given gluten early in life or in large amounts are more likely to develop celiac.


In fact, here is the article in its entirety because I think there are many ideas of interest, for example, the mention of dermatitis, especially in men:
Celiac disease: An Introduction To a Not-So-Rare Problem

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Once thought to be a rare childhood disease, celiac disease is now recognized as a common condition that is primarily a disease of adulthood. A University of Maryland study has shown that approximately 1 in 150 Americans has celiac disease, and women are affected three times more often than men. What is this not-so-rare disease? Celiac disease, also called celiac sprue, gluten sensitive enteropathy, and non-tropical sprue, is an autoimmune disease which affects the small intestine and interferes with the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food. In celiac, the "trouble-maker" is gluten, a protein found in all forms of wheat (spelt, triticale, kamut, durum, semolina, einkorn, faro), rye, barley, and possibly oats.
Gluten is found not only in food but also in some medicines, vitamins, minerals, toothpaste, lipstick, and adhesives on postage stamps and envelopes, to mention a few sources.

The immune system responds to the gluten by destroying the small hair-like villi lining the small intestine which allow nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Since iron and calcium are absorbed in the small intestine, celiac patients can develop iron deficiency anemia and osteoporosis. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to other forms of anemia.
What causes celiac disease? Autoimmunity is generally accepted as the cause of celiac disease. As happens in other autoimmune diseases, a combination of genes, environmental triggers, and hormones are likely factors in developing the disease.

A celiac patient must have specific genes to develop the disease. Two genes have been identified in celiac disease, the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes. Seventy percent of identical twins have the disease when one twin is diagnosed. Also, 10 percent of first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) will have celiac disease.
While gluten is the known primary environmental trigger for celiac disease, other triggers are possible. Repeated viral infections in infants and children are thought to trigger celiac disease, and surgery also may be a trigger. Hormones may be a factor since celiac is often activated after childbirth when a woman's hormonal balance changes markedly. It is known that testosterone levels in men with celiac are lower than the general population.

Breast milk appears to offer some protection against the disease by safeguarding children from developing celiac and in delaying its onset in children who eventually develop the disease. It is known that children who are not breastfed and who are given gluten early in life or in large amounts are more likely to develop celiac.
What are the symptoms of celiac? Most people who have celiac disease do not have any recognizable symptoms, or they consult their doctors for a variety of complaints. Symptoms can occur in the intestinal system or in other parts of the body. The disease affects each person differently, and symptoms may come on gradually or appear suddenly and dramatically. These celiac disease symptoms can include any of the following: gas/flatulence, reflux, abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, fatigue and depression, anemia, osteoporosis, bone or joint pain, muscle cramps, tooth discoloration and/or loss of enamel, and pale, foul-smelling or fatty stool. Symptoms also can include tingling and numbness in the legs, missed menstrual periods, weight loss or weight gain, sores inside the mouth, and seizures.

Approximately 10 percent of celiac patients have a skin disease called dermatitis herpetiformis, and males are twice as likely to be affected as females. This is an intensely itchy, blistery rash that appears most commonly on the elbows, knees, and buttocks. The rash is commonly mistaken for mosquito bites, eczema, psoriasis, herpes, and a number of other skin conditions. A biopsy will confirm a diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of celiac in children? In addition to the symptoms already mentioned, irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children. Behavioral changes may also be noted, including an inability to concentrate. Children may complain of always feeling hungry.

Early diagnosis is critical since malnutrition and anemia from celiac can lead to serious problems including delayed growth, short stature, bone loss, and cognitive problems. Many celiac children are diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and other cognitive issues. Children are rarely affected by dermatitis herpetiformis.
The good news is that children heal quickly once they follow a strict gluten-free diet. Within three to six months, the small intestine can be completely healed.

How is celiac diagnosed? Getting a diagnosis can be very difficult since its early symptoms may mimic other autoimmune diseases. It is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome.
Patients are tested for the following autoantibodies: IgA endomysial antibodies (EMA), IgA tissue transglutaminase (tTGA), IgG tissue transglutaminase, and IgA and IgG antigliadin antibodies (AGA). Total IgA testing might also be done since patients with celiac disease have an increased IgA deficiency. If the blood tests and symptoms suggest celiac disease, a small intestine biopsy will be performed.

What is the treatment for celiac disease? The treatment for celiac disease is to follow strictly a gluten-free diet. For most people, avoiding gluten will stop the symptoms and heal existing damage. Adults who follow the diet show improvement almost immediately, and the small intestine is usually completely healed within two years.
It is important to remember that a gluten-free diet must be followed for life. Eating even trace amounts of gluten can cause damage to accumulate.

The treatment for dermatitis herpetiformis is also a strict gluten-free diet. Rash symptoms can be relieved with medications, e.g., dapsone and sulfapyridine. However, these medications are not a treatment for celiac disease.
What research is being done? Researchers are studying the substances in gluten that destroy the immune response in celiac disease. Alternatives to a gluten-free diet also are being explored. Various drugs and immunizations are being investigated. Researchers are currently investigating oral peptidases, which are enzymes that could digest the toxic components in gluten.

---Source: Adapted from "Celiac Disease: The Facts," American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association; available free upon request.


Now I wonder if excess insulin (secreted in the pancreas and dumped into the small intestine) could play a role in destroying the villi and creating this disease.
Last edited by lyndacarol on Fri May 02, 2008 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby DIM » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:31 am

Low body temp for many days usualy means thyroid problems and more often hypothyroidism.
Low body temp in the morning for ten days is a prcatical test or sign of hypothyroidism which plays a role in the MS, T3 & T4 used to boost thyroid function and help stop MS progression.
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Low body temp and thyroid

Postby lyndacarol » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:30 am

DIM, you are absolutely correct when you wrote,
Low body temp for many days usualy means thyroid problems.


It should be the first suspect. And the first levels tested. Mine were tested and found to be normal. The physician should keep looking.

By the way, Dr. Roy Swank listed on page 30 of his book, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, "The Prodromal [early warning signs of disease onset] Symptoms" which included (on page 31) "Cold, pale hands and feet, periodic subcutaneous hemorrhages without obvious cause, and often a pale, drawn face during the periods of fatigue complete the picture."

By evening, my hands and feet are like ice!
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Postby AllyB » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:08 pm

Hey guys

This is an interesting discussion.
Dom - I get your point - it is a bit of a chicken and egg thing! As I mentioned previously, I thought for years that I had a viral thing that kept recurring - this was probably when my ms was very mild (pre-diagnosis, in my 20's and I was 34 when I was diagnosed) and I couldn't get any docs interested - my temp would consistently sit above 37.5C but below 38C for a few weeks, along with some other rather vague symptoms...So maybe a virus triggered my ms and is responsible for the RRMS part and also responsible for it possibly converting to SPMS now - it has become chronic! But I don't know - it could work both ways - if there is a non-infective trigger, then the inflammation could be responsible for the raised temp during a relapse...Mmmm.

I have no deficiencies - blood chemistry and iron all good.

DIM - you are quite right about hypothyroidism! My thyroid was checked repeatedly over the years (my sister has Grave's Disease - hyperthyroidism) and just recently it took a dive to the border of low normal (probably from Avonex), and the range is quite wide. So I have started taking just a small dose of eltroxin to bump it up slightly - but it was never a problem before!

I also suffer very quickly from cold hands and feet (whenever the weather gets cold enough here - not often enough for me!), I feel the heat more quickly than others - my body does not seem to cool itself too efficiently though I sweat buckets, and I also don't feel the cold as much as others - I perk up in fact (though I do get stiffer muscles)!

So to sum up, this is fascinating, but there doesn't seem to be any one cause for all of us to have lower than normal temps (although not alarmingly low) - except that we have ms! I have never really dug into the whole insulin resistance issue as it relates to ms, but maybe Lynda is right and this plays a role, as it will impact on metabolism, just as thyroid does....
Cheerfully clueless...But fascinated all the same...
Al
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Postby marcstck » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:45 pm

There have been several discussions of low body temperature on a few of the other MS forums, and I believe one even ran a poll in that regard. Seems that low body temperature is very very widespread in the MS population.

In my case (PPMS) my body temperature was always spot on normal (98.6) before I developed MS. Since then my normal is about 97.1.

Very strange phenomenon, I've always attributed it to autonomic nervous system dysfunction brought on by the disease. Perhaps there is more to it, though...
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