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Why Chart your Body Temperature?

Body temperature changes from day to day and is an indicator of your overall metabolic health.

There are a number of reasons why people monitor and chart their body temperature.

  • Managing a thyroid disorder
  • Managing your metabolic system and overall health
  • Managing reactions to external stresses
  • Managing fever and illness
  • Managing female fertility

1. Managing a thyroid disorder

When thyroid hormone levels are too low it is called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism means the body’s cells can’t get enough thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down. As the body slows, the body temperature drops. Sufferers may feel colder, tire easily, have dry skin, and feel forgetful and depressed. Thyroid hormones have a direct effect on body temperature.

Recording and charting body temperature can help to diagnose and manage hypothyroidism. However, because the symptoms are so variable, the only way to know for sure whether you have hypothyroidism is with blood tests. Tracking basal temperature is an additional piece of information that helps determine whether a person is on the right medicine and/or the right dose to mange their hypothyroidism.

2. Managing your metabolic system and overall health

Body temperature is an indicator of the health of your metabolism. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest. As BMR increases so does the internal temperature of the body. The chemical reactions in the body become faster with higher body temperature. The body then slows with lower body temperatures. The primary organ responsible for regulating metabolism is the hypothalamus, which is located in the brain. A key function of the hypothalamus is to regulate body temperature.

A slow metabolism can be reflected in lower body temperatures. BMR decreases with age and with the loss of lean body mass. Illness, previously consumed food and beverages, environmental temperature, and stress levels can all affect overall energy expenditure and BMR. Charting body temperature may help to track and manage a slow metabolism to good health.

3. Managing reactions to external stresses

Body temperature can indicate how you react to some foods and drinks, including caffeine which all have an effect on body temperature. Excess caffeine results in a rise in body temperature. Different medications can also affect body temperature levels. Strenuous exercise, excitement, emotional stress and anxiety can all raise the body temperature.

Recording and charting body temperature can provide insight into the affect of these external stresses.

4. Managing fever or illness

When you have a fever, keeping a record of your temperature with multiple recordings can help you and your doctor determine what is causing the fever and how it can be treated. High fever in children and adults can be stressful. Tracking the pattern of a fever can help suggest reasons for increase in body temperature. It may also indicate trends in your health over time.

5. Managing female hormones to fall or prevent pregnancy

It is very common for a woman’s body temperature to vary during her monthly cycle, during pregnancy and menopause. Basal Body Temperature is the body temperature measured immediately after awakening and before any physical activity, and is used to chart a woman’s fertility cycle.

Ovulation causes an increase in basal body temperature. Monitoring of BBTs is one way of estimating the day of ovulation. Women tend to have lower temperatures before ovulation, and higher temperatures afterwards. Charting this pattern can provide a women with fertility awareness. It is especially useful for women wishing to fall or prevent pregnancy.

Charting body temperature can help to identify the most fertile times during a woman’s monthly cycle. Charting can also be used to show early signs of pregnancy and alert one of hormonal imbalance.

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