Exposure to cold temperatures is the primary cause of low body temperature or hypothermia, according to Healthline. Other causes include drug or alcohol use and medications for issues such as diabetes and thyroid conditions, notes WebMD.
A low body temperature occurs when the body loses heat faster than it produces it, explains Mayo Clinic. This can result from prolonged exposure to an environment that is colder than the body, such as cold water or cold weather conditions. Instances that can cause conduction of heat from the body include wearing wet clothes, inadequate heating in the home, being rained on, and the wind.
Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand, resulting in heat loss from the surface of the skin, notes Mayo Clinic. Additionally, health disorders such as severe arthritis, poor nutrition and underactive thyroid, as well as medications such as antipsychotics and certain antidepressants, affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
Older people are at a higher risk of experiencing low temperatures due to their body inability to regulate temperature, states Mayo Clinic. Children lose heat faster than adults, as they have a larger surface area-to-weight ratio.
Symptoms of hypothermia include memory loss, shivering, mumbled speech and loss of coordination, according to WebMD. To avoid hypothermia, cover the body parts properly, especially during cold weathers, avoid swimming for long periods and be cautious while exercising on cold days, as sweating can cause low body temperature, explains Healthline.