Health Magazine

Regulating Body Temperature

Posted on the 31 May 2023 by Livingwithss @livingwithSS
superficial siderosis Temp Dysregulation

Feeling Hot and Cold

Here are a few reasons people with superficial siderosis may experience these temperature-related sensations. Neurodegenerative disorders often affect the normal functioning of the nervous system, including the parts responsible for regulating body temperature. Superficial siderosis is a condition characterized by the deposition of iron in the superficial layers of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in certain types of neurological dysfunction. The severity and specific manifestations of autonomic dysfunction will depend on the extent and location of iron deposition in the central nervous system.

Autonomic nervous system dysfunction may lead to urinary problems (neurogenic bladder), constipation, sexual dysfunction, blood pressure dysregulation, dysregulation of thermoregulation, or peripheral vasoconstriction. Peripheral vasoconstriction will vary to some degree among individuals with superficial siderosis, while some patients remain unaffected. Managing peripheral vasoconstriction associated with superficial siderosis autonomic dysfunction should involve a comprehensive approach, including treating underlying iron deposition, oxidative stress, and symptomatic management of cold extremities. 

Dysregulation of Thermoregulation

Thermoregulation is the body’s ability to maintain a stable internal temperature

Autonomic dysfunction

Neurodegenerative disorders can disrupt the autonomic nervous system, which controls many involuntary bodily functions, including thermoregulation. When this system is impaired, it can lead to abnormalities in the body’s response to temperature changes, causing individuals to feel cold or hot inappropriately.

Impaired temperature perception

Neurological conditions can affect the brain’s perception and interpretation of temperature signals. The brain may receive inaccurate or distorted information about external temperature, leading to a mismatch between the actual temperature and the person’s perception.

Reduced mobility

In many cases, superficial siderosis can cause mobility issues impacting blood circulation and heat distribution throughout the body. Poor circulation may result in individuals feeling cold even when the ambient temperature is warm or feeling hot due to decreased ability to dissipate heat.

“How can I be freezing when it’s steaming hot outside?”


Suggestions for Improving Your Comfort

  • Layer clothing: Wearing multiple layers allows for easy adjustment as needed. This helps to trap body heat when feeling cold and remove layers when feeling hot.
  • Use appropriate bedding: Use blankets and sheets that can be easily adjusted or removed to regulate body temperature during sleep.
  • Adjust room temperature: Maintain the indoor environment at a comfortable temperature. Use fans or air conditioning in warmer months and heating systems in colder months to achieve a comfortable temperature for the individual.
  • Use cooling aids: Cooling products like fans, cooling towels, or gel packs can help alleviate heat sensations. These can be placed on the neck, wrists, or forehead to provide relief.
  • Apply warmth: Use heating pads, warm blankets, or heated clothing to provide additional warmth when feeling cold. It’s important to use these heat sources safely and avoid overheating or burns.
  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for maintaining body temperature. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to support thermoregulation.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: Minimize exposure to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold. Seek shade or air-conditioned areas during hot weather, dress warmly, and limit time spent outdoors in cold weather.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can exacerbate temperature-related symptoms. Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress levels.
  • Maintain a balanced lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall well-being. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and adequate sleep can support the body’s natural regulatory systems.

Why Your Hands and Feet Feel Like Ice

Peripheral Vasoconstriction

The autonomic nervous system plays a crucial role in regulating the diameter of blood vessels throughout the body. In superficial siderosis, iron deposition in the brain and spinal cord can disrupt the normal functioning of the autonomic nervous system, specifically the sympathetic branch, which is responsible for regulating blood vessel constriction. The exact mechanisms by which superficial siderosis affects the autonomic nervous system are not fully understood. However, iron deposition and associated oxidative stress are believed to damage or impair the neurons involved in autonomic control. This disruption in neuronal signaling can lead to imbalances in sympathetic activity, resulting in excessive vasoconstriction in the peripheral blood vessels.

Peripheral vasoconstriction refers to the narrowing of blood vessels in the extremities, which reduces blood flow to these areas. As a result, less warm blood reaches the hands and feet, leading to a sensation of coldness in those regions. Furthermore, autonomic dysfunction in superficial siderosis may also affect other aspects of blood vessel regulation, such as impaired vasodilation responses. This can further contribute to peripheral vasoconstriction and cold extremities

Methods to Manage Cold Extremities

Managing cold extremities can involve various techniques to improve circulation and promote warmth. While these techniques may not directly address the underlying cause, they can help alleviate discomfort. 

Here are some methods that may aid in managing cold extremities:

  • Keep warm clothing and accessories: Wear warm socks, gloves, and insulated shoes to help retain heat in the extremities. Opt for thermal or moisture-wicking fabrics that provide insulation while allowing breathability.
  • Layer clothing: Layering helps trap warmth and allows for easy adjustment based on temperature changes. Start with a thin, moisture-wicking base layer, add insulating layers, and top it off with a windproof and waterproof outer layer.
  • Use heating aids: Utilize heating aids such as electric blankets, heating pads, or hot water bottles to warm up cold extremities. Ensure proper safety precautions are taken to avoid burns or overheating.
  • Keep active: Regular physical activity promotes blood circulation throughout the body, including the extremities. Low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, or stretching can be beneficial.
  • Massage and movement: Gently massage the hands and feet to improve blood flow and stimulate warmth. Regularly flex and extend the limbs to encourage circulation.
  • Warm baths or showers: Soak in a warm bath or shower to warm up the entire body, including the extremities. Avoid using excessively hot water, which can cause skin dryness and irritation.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink adequate water throughout the day to maintain good blood circulation. Proper hydration supports overall health and may help improve blood flow to the extremities.
  • Avoid smoking and caffeine: Smoking and excessive caffeine intake can constrict blood vessels and worsen peripheral vasoconstriction. Minimize or avoid these substances to promote better circulation.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Stress and anxiety can contribute to peripheral vasoconstriction. Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress levels and improve circulation.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises promote relaxation, reduce stress, and potentially support body temperature regulation. Here are a few deep breathing techniques you can try:


Also known as belly breathing, this technique engages the diaphragm for deep inhalation and complete exhalation. 

  • Find a comfortable seated position or lie down.
  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your stomach to rise as you fill your lungs with air.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing your stomach to fall as you release the air.
  • Repeat for several breaths, focusing on deep, slow, and controlled inhalations and exhalations.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique involves a specific breathing pattern that can promote relaxation.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and relax your shoulders.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose, counting to four silently.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, counting to eight.
  • Repeat the cycle for several rounds.

Box Breathing

This method creates a square pattern with your breath, incorporating equal durations for inhalation, hold, exhalation, and another hold. 

  • Find a relaxed seated position.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of four.
  • Repeat the cycle for several rounds, maintaining a steady and even pace.

Alternate Nostril 

Balance the flow of breath between the two nostrils. 

  • Sit comfortably with an upright posture.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee, and bring your right hand close to your face.
  • Use your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril with your right ring finger and release your right nostril, exhaling slowly through it.
  • Inhale through your right nostril, then close it with your right thumb again.
  • Release your left nostril, exhaling through it.
  • Repeat the cycle, alternating between nostrils for several rounds.

These methods may provide temporary relief and promote comfort but working closely with your healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your needs is crucial for long-term management. It’s important to note that these experiences can vary among individuals and depend on the specific areas of the brain affected along with your progression. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate management. While individuals with superficial siderosis need to work closely with their healthcare provider to address the underlying condition, they can seek comfort and manage temperature-related symptoms.

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