Our bodies have a regular temperature that won't change a lot. However, have you ever wondered how this can happen? How does the body warm up if it becomes too cold? And if the body becomes hot, how is it able to cool down? If you get well understanding about the process of body temperature regulation, also called thermoregulation, these questions won't be hard.
What Is Body Temperature Regulation?
Body temperature regulation is the process that allows you to maintain a precise internal temperature range to keep the body work effectively. The normal range for a safe temperature in the body is known as homeostasis.
The safe and healthy temperature range for a normal body without problems is from 98 degrees F (37degrees C) to 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C). If your body temperature is much higher than that, you may experience brain damage. If your temperature is too low, you may be going through hypothermia which could put you at risk of a stroke, cardiac arrest or ultimately death.
The hypothalamus area of your brain is in charge of keeping an eye on your body’s temperature. If it feels that your temperature levels are too high or too low, it will send signals to your nervous system, organs and muscles to begin the process of correcting them and returning them to normal levels.
There are many reasons why your temperature levels may fluctuate. Sometimes it may be the result of extreme circumstances, such as a cold climate outdoors. Drugs or alcohol uses can also cause lower temperature. Sickness, infections and illnesses can result in a fever which is another factor that affects your body temperature regulation.
Types of Body Temperature Regulation
In generally, if you feel cold, the following process will keep your warm up:
- Vasoconstriction. The constriction will reduce the heat that is going out.
- Thermogenesis. The muscles and organs can produce heat when you need it.
- Hormonal thermogenesis. Thyroxin, a thyroid gland, will increase your body's metabolism and make you warm.
While if you feel hot, the following process will help you cool down:
- Sweating. This is the most common method that your body to lower the body temperature.
- Vasodilation. Enlarged capillaries increases blood flow at the skin surface, letting the heat release through radiation.
How Does Body Temperature Regulation Work?
1. How Does the Body Produce Heat When You Feel Cold?
You can increase your energy level in order to raise your body temperature metabolically or through an adjustment of the environment. The production of heat and its retention are handled and maintained in a number of ways.
- Shivering and muscular activity. When you convert chemical energy that has been stored, it will raise the heat levels in your body and spread it throughout.
- Thyroxin. The hormones derived from the thyroid glands raise the metabolic rate, converting the stored chemical energy into thermogenesis.
- Piloerection. This happens when you feel cold. The body hair contracts, separating the air to your skin and thus reducing the heat loss.
- The oxidation of brown fat. This chemical reaction can help change chemical energy to heat energy.
- Skin vasoconstriction makes the heat that radiates from the skin decrease.
2. How Does the Body Remove Heat When You Feel Hot?
Heat is transferred from the body to the environment through a range of mechanisms.
Mode of Heat Transfer
Percentage Loss (Normal Conditions)
15% to air
3% to other objects
If you need to decrease your body temperature, it can be done by raising the rate of conduction (the heat moves from core to the surface) or the rate of transfer (the heat moves from the surface to the environment). The rate of conduction is affected through the constriction and dilation of the blood vessels while the transfer rate depends on the temperature of the air, your clothing, level of perspiration, the foods you have consumed and the position of your body among other things.
because an exposure to high levels of heat for certain periods of time could result in dehydration.
3. How Does the Body Know What to Do?
The body is able to automatically control its temperatures because of the receptors that are located on the skin around the veins, in the abdominal viscera and in the spinal cord area. These receptors act as the natural thermostat for the brain as it regulates the flow of heat and cold in the body.
Factors that help with the body temperature regulation include:
- The secretion of TRH through the hypothalamus area
- Shivering as a result of hypothalamic stimulation
- Consuming more food
- Adding more clothing
- Remove yourself physically from a cold room and going into a warm room.