What’s Your Normal Body Temperature?

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What's Your Normal Body Temperature?

(AscendHealthy.com) – When was the last time you took your temperature? If most of us had to guess ours right at this moment, it’s safe to assume the majority would go with 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Would you be surprised to learn that many of us would be wrong? What if we told you researchers are finding the individual “norm” is more varied than we once thought?

Quick Read:
If you’ve been wondering whether something might be wrong with your thermometer, you might be looking for the wrong number. Studies have shown the average “normal” isn’t 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit anymore. Just as important, averages vary by age, weight and body chemistry. Certain conditions can also affect a person’s temperature. See the article below for more details on “normal” body temperature.

Get the Details on Your Normal Body Temperature.

Redefining Normal

Since 1851, when a German doctor named Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich recorded and averaged the temperatures of 25,000 patients, most people have accepted that 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the human norm. Recently, researchers have recreated Wunderlich’s study using 250,000 samples — and they found our average to be 97.8.

Why? There could be any number of reasons. It’s possible that reduced infection rates or differences in environmental factors have, over the course of the decades, lowered the average human body temperature. Another possibility is that individual temperatures vary too greatly for Wunderlich’s 25,000-sample size to have been large enough. If that’s the case, then 98.6 was never the correct average in the first place. Still, however you look at it, your normal might not be the same as your mother’s, husband’s or best friend’s.

Conditions That Affect Body Temperature

Several medical factors can also affect your temperature. Chronic health conditions, including certain infections and autoimmune diseases, can raise it. Diabetes can alter a person’s ability to regulate their temperature. Other variables that can have real effects on temperature include:

  • Melatonin levels. Higher melatonin levels lower body temperature. This means the time of day alone can affect your reading.
  • Menopause. Postmenopausal women have lower average temperatures than premenopausal women.
  • Obesity. People who are obese tend to have lower body temperatures.
  • Menstruation. Women may fluctuate in temperature throughout their menstrual cycles.
  • Time of year. Your temperature is more likely to be its warmest in August and its coolest in February or March.

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that could easily derail an average. Just the time of year alone could change a whole set of stats. Maybe we shouldn’t be looking at a single average but rather a range of numbers depending on the specs.

Do you know your normal temperature? If yours seems to run higher or lower than the norm, talk to your doctor about the possible causes. And no matter what your normal might be, a clinically significant fever would be 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1 degree Celsius) or higher above your healthy normal.

~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!

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