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Thread: Very Low Body Temp

  1. #1

    Very Low Body Temp

    I work for a woman who is 42, with a 16+ year, c 4-5 sci. Her normal temp is usually around 94-95 degrees until 3 yrs. ago while doing the Atkins' diet she experienced many problems. At the time symptoms included memory loss, slurred speech, excessive night time urine output, fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, snoring, and very deep sleep with vivid dreams. She would have trouble distinguishing the difference between dreams and reality. At it's worst, she began hallucinating, became paranoid, and started lying about everything, especially her condition. Because of this she spent the winter in and out of 4 different hospitals without being able to find out what was wrong. There were many diagnoses. she might have known that she was being treated for hypothermia, but she never told us aids (because she lied and hated the hospitals) until the spring when she was scheduled to have a bone marrow draw (to try to figure out what was wrong) that couldn't be drawn due to a temp of 88 degrees.

    She only remembers bits and pieces of all of this. Prednisone was prescribed by her Endo towards the end of that winter for an adrenal insuficency ( supposedly the cause of the low temp) and she has had one fairly symptom free winter since.

    In October she was hospitalized again for a few days for hypothermia. Since then the symptoms have been less frequent, but still there. She's been covering up by lying about some of it or she doesn't recognize them. Her temp has been very low most of the winter, 90-92 degrees roughly every 3-5 days it drops to the point of not registering for 1-3 days and comes back up to around 92-93 degrees. We take her temp every morning and before bed and at times we take it before breakfast and after she gets up. In a 2 hour span it can drop 1-3 degrees. She keeps her apartment at 72-73 degrees and covers her legs with a blanket so that can't be the reason.

    I don't think she can handle another winter like this. I'm afraid of the damage this may be causing to her body. She is currently under the care of a G.P., Endocrinologist (for hypothyroidism, taking Levoxyl, all levels looking good) and just recently a Physiatrist, and they all seem to be at a loss. Her recent blood work shows slightly abnormal liver functions, not bad enough to be causing this much trouble(says teh Dr., but a common trait in all my blood work off and on since this began. Her Endo suggested setting up an appointment with a Neurologist next because she doesn't know what else to do.

    If you have a clue as to what is causing this and what I can do to prevent it, please help me. Thanks.

  2. #2
    It sounds like she has had a number of medical problems checked out. My experience has been mostly with hypothermiabeing caused by a systemic infection (sepsis). Here is a list of possible causes from the site:
    http://www.aafp.org/afp/20041215/2325.html

    Common Causes of Hypothermia
    Dermal disease
    Burns
    Exfoliative dermatitis
    Severe psoriasis
    Drug induced
    Ethanol
    Phenothiazines
    Sedative-hypnotics
    Environmental
    Immersion
    Nonimmersion
    Iatrogenic
    Aggressive fluid resuscitation
    Heat stroke treatment
    Metabolic
    Hypoadrenalism
    Hypopituitarism
    Hypothyroidism
    Neurologic
    Acute spinal cord transection
    Head trauma
    Stroke
    Tumor
    Wernicke's disease
    Neuromuscular inefficiency
    Age extreme
    Impaired shivering
    Lack of acclimatization
    Sepsis

    AAD

  3. #3
    That is a low temperature anyway you put it. How are you taking the temperature? Rectal is probably the preferred route--most people get impatient with oral thermometers, underarm temps can be affected by room temperature, and ear temperatures in my experience are rarely accurate. We all have our little quirks and some people do run a lower temperature but usually it is around 96 or 97, from what you have described though she is a lot lower than that and even worse she is symptomatic.

    I dislike the Atkins diet but it really shouldnt cause you to hallucinate or have her symptoms unless she is causing herself to become malnourished. Is her nutritional status ok?

    I know it is frustrating but this really is complex--keep following up with specialists and if you are unhappy then perhaps start to get some second or third opinions. A neurologist may be the person to see as the brain ultimately regulates body temperature.

    Keep us posted.

  4. #4
    Thanks, I'll talk to her about the suggestions.

    Temp is usually taken orally, but we have done rectals, without much difference.

    It started when she was doing the Atkin's, but she only did it for a month and she wasn't eating the proper amount. After the first hospitalization she stopped completely and still had the symptoms. It's been 3 years since then and she STILL has symptoms and the low temp. Some days are better than others, but almost always there.

    Wise is talking to a doctor our way to try to get some info and he gave me a site for a Dr. in Boston. She's agreed to talk to him.

    She saw a Neurologist the other day for a minute when she saw her Endo and he told her without looking at any charts, but the endos, that this was normal for a person in her condition. That was when I posted this. He also told her she could have all the confusion if she was hungry, or tired. That her external temp was cool even though her oral temp was 90 degrees, but her heart and her brain were not being compromised. How so if her temp is only 90 degrees. She has an Appt with the same man on the 20th and I feel like he's already made up his mind without a full exam. It's very frustrating.

    I'll keep you posted. Thank you, Jamie

  5. #5
    Hypothermia isn't unusual in quads or anyone with an impaired sympathetic nervous system. My temp. runs around 97.4. I keep warm by sitting in front of little table top heaters which are placed around the house. I prefer to keep my heat on 80 so 72 sounds low to me. If she complains about being cold, turn the heat up. I've heard that Atkins diets can be hard on the kidneys so make sure her urological system is functioning ok.
    Last edited by antiquity; 03-23-2006 at 04:43 PM.

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