Saturday, February 06, 2010

Body Temperature: Personal Results

By Diana Hsieh

As a followup to my general discussion of thyroid function and body temperatures, I thought I'd report my own personal findings.

Since late December, I've taken my temperature three to four times per day with this basal thermometer. For greater accuracy, I don't take my temperatures for a half hour before or after eating or drinking, nor after exercise. I try to avoid breathing through my mouth (as of often do, as I have narrow nasal passages) for a while beforehand. I record the value and the time in the spreadsheet, then I calculate the average and the range each day.

During that time, my temperatures haven't changed much. That's not surprising. Even though I've seen a dramatic improvement in my other hypothyroid symptoms after starting high-dose iodine and desiccated thyroid in mid-January, I still feel cold -- not just in my hands and feet but in my innermost guts -- most of the time. Some other symptoms, like dry skin, as as bad as ever.

So let's get to the numbers. From December 21st to February 5th, my average temperature has been 96.76°F. The median is 96.85°F. The standard deviation is .69°F. The range is 4.40°F.

Here's the chart of temperature over time (click to enlarge):



Here's the chart of frequency of temperature values (click to enlarge):



As you can see, my temperature mostly ranges from 96.0°F to 97.2°F. That encompasses 68% of the readings (i.e. 101 of 148) -- meaning two standard deviations.

My low was 93.92°F on January 29th. I was sitting at my computer, on a heated pad, under a fleece blanket. I began taking my temperature as I felt myself growing colder and colder. When it got that low, I just couldn't do anything but sit. Then, as it began to rise back to 96°F, I began to feel better. Notably, that was after a few days of terrible stress over a friendship. That's reflected in the wild temperatures I got around that time in the first chart. (Perhaps my adrenal glands were going haywire.) Since then I've made a concerted effort to chill out relax.

I hope to see a rise in body temperature -- and to feel a warm glow in my belly -- if my doctor increases my dose of desiccated thyroid from 1.0 to 1.5 grains with my next round of labs later this month.

Update: I forgot to mention something. When I ate the Standard American Diet, I felt mildly cold most of the time, not just in my hands and feet but in my core. My temperatures were also low, albeit not as low as they are now. When I began eating paleo, I was amazed to feel so much warmer. I didn't need the seat warmer in my car and my office; I wore lighter clothing around the house during the winter. It was fantastic! The only time I would feel cold was after I'd been fasting for about 20 hours or more. That's one reason why I'm pretty sure that I was mildly hypothyroid before I began eating paleo, even though my TSH was in the official normal range. (I'll say more about that in another post, however.)

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