Symptoms of temperature sensation - "I'm slightly too cold" or I'm "slightly too warm" - can be indications of accompanying circulatory disorders, such as high blood pressure. Learn more here.
When we think of the circulatory system, the first thing that comes to mind is the blood pressure comes to mind. However, the circulatory system also serves to fine-tune your heat balance so that you experience thermal well-being at all times, if possible.
Since blood pressure control and temperature regulation are closely linked, symptoms of thermal discomfort indicate possible circulatory disturbances.
Circulation - important for regulation of blood pressure and body temperature
Your circulation serves to maintain a stable blood pressure and body temperature. The blood pressure is important so that all organs, above all the brain, are sufficiently supplied with blood, and thus with the metabolically relevant oxygen. The body temperature essentially determines the harmonious activity of your metabolic processes.
Blood pressure and body temperature are both decisively controlled by the microcirculation at the end of the large blood vessels. The small blood vessels of the microcirculation function similarly to valves.
- Microcirculation wide: blood pressure lowered + blood flow increased (= heat release increased)
- Microcirculation narrow: blood pressure increased + blood flow decreased (= heat release decreased).
For the maintenance of body temperature, this means that by controlling the blood flow to the body surface, either more heat is released from the body or retained in the body. If the small blood vessels of the microcirculation are particularly narrow or wide, we speak of a heat dissipation circuit (increased heat release) or a heat retention circuit (increased heat retention).
Symptoms of temperature sensation - warning signs of imbalance
If your body can no longer finely control body temperature via blood flow, the system is in danger of becoming unbalanced, i.e. decompensating.
The symptoms that then occur are thus also an expression of an imminent or existing imbalance. Symptoms are warning signs; they signal that you should change something, either cool or warm the body, because otherwise thermal stress will occur. Health-critical decompensations are heat shock on the one hand and frostbite on the other.
But even minor symptoms of temperature balance can be indications of circulatory disorders, that is, for example, hyperdynamic hypertension with high blood flow or hypodynamic hypertension with low blood flow.
Subjective temperature sensation - important in the evaluation of circulatory disorders.
In addition to the measurement of blood pressure and blood flow, the measurement of body temperature and the subjective feeling of temperature are important variables to find out whether the system of blood pressure and blood flow is in balance.
In circulatory diagnostics, one of the most important questions is the question of temperature sensation:
- "Are you more likely to be slightly too cold or slightly too warm?"
Simplified, the answers are usually:
- "I'm rather or always slightly too cold."
- "I'm rather or always slightly too warm."
- "I'm usually neither too cold nor too hot."
As a rule, thermal well-being indicates a balanced circulation. However, we must take into account that some people have a limited sense of temperature.
Circulation and symptoms with increased cold feeling
If the heat output is too high in relation to heat generation, for example in very slim people, then the body temperature falls below the setpoint in the temperature control loop and your body is too cold.
When the temperature falls below the set point, the body REDUCES blood flow with the aim of keeping more heat in the body core, as if you were closing the windows in your home. Referring to the circulation, we call this a HYPOdyname or a heat preservation circuit.
If the system decompensates, i.e. if the reduction in blood flow is no longer sufficient to maintain the temperature set point, then your body switches on the reserve mechanisms to increase the temperature, such as the cold shivering of the muscles. These reserve mechanisms are adrenaline-mediated and can have a negative impact on your health in the medium term.
- Slightly too cold
- Cold avoidance
- Warm clothing even at higher outdoor temperatures
- Cold hands
- Subtle feeling of cold
- Feeling cold during physical inactivity
- Cold shiver
- Paradoxical sweating at night
- Sleep disorders
- Inner restlessness
Sweating at night with cold sensation during the day
Paradoxical sweating requires special mention here. People who are rather too cold during the day sometimes sweat at night. A possible explanation here is that the body temperature is lowest between 2:00h and 4:00h in the morning, even in healthy people.
In people who are basically rather too cold, a critical drop in temperature is then imminent, so that the adrenaline-mediating compensatory mechanisms kick in again here. Sweating is triggered directly by norepinephrine or epinephrine.
Circulation and symptoms with increased feeling of warmth
If the heat build-up is too high in relation to heat release, for example in overweight people, then the body temperature exceeds the set point and your body is too warm.
In response, the body INCREASES blood flow. Thus, more heat is brought to the surface of the body and can be radiated there. Related to the circulation, we call this a HYPERdynamen or heat dissipation circuit.
If the system decompensates, that is, the increase in blood flow is not enough to regulate heat, then you begin to sweat.
- Slightly too warm
- Heat avoidance
- Light clothing even at low outdoor temperatures
- Warm hands
- Subliminal feeling of warmth
- Feeling of heat during light physical exertion
- Sweating by day and by night
- Sleep disorders
- Inner restlessness
We must take into account that sweating in this case is also an expression of high thermal stress. Sweating occurs only when the regulation of body temperature by increasing blood flow is no longer possible.
Feeling warm in the evening - A good night's sleep needs cooling down
Their body temperature is controlled by the internal clocks and is thus subject to a circardian rhythm, i.e. during the day between 14:00h and 20:00h the temperature is highest, between 2:00h and 4:00h at night it is lowest.
A healthy night's sleep requires cooling so that metabolic processes and thus energy consumption can be reduced during the night. Basically, cooling is paradoxically initiated by subjectively warming factors, which then lower the objective body temperature via an expansion of the microcirculation in the body extremities (arms, legs) and the associated increased heat release.
Physical factors that can increase the subjective feeling of warmth include, for example, a warming bath before going to bed, the curled-up body position in bed, and warming bedding.
Among the biochemical factors that increase the feeling of warmth is melatonin, which is released in the brain as a so-called "sleep hormone" with the onset of darkness. Melatonin reduces the set point for body temperature, for example from 36.6 0Cduring the day to 36.2 0Cin the evening. This means that your body objectively becomes more easily too warm and your body tries to cool down the temperature to the now lower set point, which is then in turn achieved via an increase in skin blood flow to the extremities.
You can definitely perceive the "melatonin effect" as an increased feeling of warmth when darkness sets in, usually between 19:00h and 20:00h. This increased feeling of warmth in the evening is physiological, i.e. completely normal, and therefore does not indicate a health disorder.
Temperature sensation - significance cardiovascular diseases
Thermal discomfort, which is an increased sensation of cold or heat, indicates thermal stress.
The thermal stress causes adrenaline-mediated compensatory reactions for the formation of heat up to cold shivering in the case of increased cold sensation.
With increased sensation of heat, the compensatory expansion of the microcirculation causes a drop in blood pressure, which is then compensated for by an adrenaline-mediated increase in heart rate and pumping force of the heart.
The adrenaline-mediated compensatory mechanisms, if they persist over a longer period of time, have a negative influence on blood pressure by contributing to a permanently elevated blood pressure. In addition, the blood flow can be reduced by an increased sensation of cold, which in turn can be harmful for the organ functions, especially of the brain.
Especially people with high blood pressure, cardiac insufficiency and cardiac arrhythmia should pay attention to thermal well-being in order to keep their health in balance.