Cold temperatures bring along the need for the human body to deal with the potentially harsh impacts of chilly weather. While you take the necessary measures, such as layering your body with thicker clothes, the built-in system of your body also works to keep you warm. In the scorching summer heat, just as sweat helps to cool you off, the body reacts to a drop in temperature by conserving as much of its heat as possible.
Below are four ways the body reacts to the cold weather:
1) Excessive urination
Your blood pressure increases due to insufficient blood supply to the skin and extremities, because the same volume of blood in your body is pumped into a smaller area to support your vital organs. And so, the kidneys tend to flush out the extra fluid in the blood, which decreases the volume and pressure of the blood. As the fluids cannot be contained in your body, you feel an intensified need to urinate.
2) Skin turns white and stiff
There is a chance of tissue damage if areas of the body are not adequately protected under freezing temperatures. An example of this is frostbite. Due to the reduced blood supply in certain areas resulting from vasoconstriction, body parts like the nose, cheeks, fingertips, and toes are highly prone to frostbite.
If the temperatures are chilly enough, frostbite will occur in just five minutes. The skin will harden, look glossy, turn white, and darken gradually. The heavily damaged tissue can blacken and fall off if the frostbite is extremely severe.
3) Generating heat to vital organs
An instant reaction of your body to the cold is to contain blood that’s warmer to your brain, chest, and abdominal cavity. In cold temperatures, it’s required for your body to maintain its internal core temperature of 98.6 F (37 C).
When the heat of the skin falls below 98.6 F (37 C), the skin’s thermoreceptors send a warning to the brain’s hypothalamus, which is the portion of the brain that controls the temperature of the body.
The hypothalamus causes reactions that include tightening the blood vessels in your extremities, restricting the supply of blood to the skin, and thereby reducing the loss of heat from the skin. This is what is referred to as vasoconstriction peripheral. This helps to generate warm blood to the vital organs but also places the joints at greater risk of cold. This is why in colder weather your hands and feet may feel cold much faster than other parts of your body.
One of the body’s ways of trying to increase the production of heat is shivering. Typically, shivering, which burns up to five times the energy of a resting body starts when the temperature of the body falls below about 95.9 F or 35.5 C. It’s just fine muscle movement, which burns some calories, and a by-product of burning calories is heat. Involuntary shivering helps boost your metabolism.