By Matt Stone
Two days ago, a long-term member of the 180 community alerted me of a study that sought to determine how body temperature impacted the mortality rate of patients checking into the intensive care unit for treatment.
Now I normally don’t like to put much focus on studies. Anyone can go out and find studies that support whatever point it is that they are trying to prove. And I think those tactics are cheap and falsely reassuring. I have written about this at great length. Having said that, this study is pretty interesting.
I have often quoted a passage by Henry Bieler that describes in great and specific detail what I consider to be a person with optimal health. And in that passage Bieler writes…
It is possible for him to stand more treatments, operations and even more lung hemorrhages than any other type of patient. He is the patient most often discharged as arrested or cured.
And of course, this patient he is describing has a nice, healthy metabolism. “The temperature of his body is scarcely ever below 98.8, with hands and feet always pleasantly warm.”
Hey, while we’re talking about Henry Bieler, note Bieler’s commentary on the blood of this superhero – a perfect tie in to the recent post on bleeding, low platelets, anemia, etc.:
The quality of the blood is characteristic. A slight to marked polycythemia (more red cells than usual) occurs; leucopenia, or abnormal white cell count on the low side, is never noted. The blood, which is of a rich, red color, clots quickly. Fatal hemorrhage seldom occurs.”
Anyway, this study was set up to see if there was any connection or correlation between low body temperature and mortality rate (risk of death) for patients entering the intensive care unit for treatment. Well, there was a huge correlation, as one would expect…
The overall intensive care unit case-fatality was 1,944 of 10,962 (18%) and 828 of 6,133 (14%) for normothermia, 235 of 1,046 (22%) for mild hypothermia, 205 of 541 (38%) for moderate hypothermia, 43 of 72 (60%) for severe hypothermia… After controlling for confounding variables in logistic regression analyses, fever at presentation was not associated with any significantly increased risk for death. However, hypothermia was a significant independent predictor for death in medical patients.
Of course, we joked about how, when you go in to any doctor’s office or hospital they will check your body temperature for a FEVER. If your body temperature is low, they ignore it. In fact, she shared a story with me about how she went in with a body temperature WAY below normal and the nurse uttered one word… “PERFECT!!!”
Anyway – I don’t want to make anyone think that body temperature is the one and only key to all health problems. It is not. But it is hugely significant and shouldn’t be ignored. There are many health problems that can be improved as body temperature improves. Low body temperature is just a sign of a much bigger story taking place beneath the surface. And that story is much lengthier and more complex than I ever could have envisioned it being when I first went down that rabbit hole.
Anyway, get warm. Get those fingers and toes toasty. Eat lots of tasty and soul-satisfying food, sleep well, don’t stress too hard, and don’t drink excessive fluids. It’ll help.