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If only half the body remains cold, is it a disease?

Tuesday, 07 June 2005
Answered by: Dr. Irwin Ziment
Professor of Medicine,
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),
USA
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Q. My mother is 49 years old. The left side of her body becomes cold while the right half remains at normal body temperature. This has been happening since the past few days. The same thing occurred two years ago too. The cold portion also seems to be slightly wet, probably due to perspiration even when the right side is dry. A massage for 15 minutes brings the temperature back to normal. Why is this happening and what is the remedy? She is obese, suffering from hypothyroidism for the past 15 years. But she never takes eltroxin as it never suited her. Also, she has no hair for the past 15 years because of alopecia which could not be cured in spite of many treatments.

A.  Variations in the temperature and sweating of one side of the body suggests a neurologic disease, and if this is due to a spinal lesion, it could increase in severity and could become a serious problem. Thus a good neurologist might want to order an MRI of the spine. Another consideration is vascular disease that might be detectable if the abnormality leads to a reduction in the pulses of the affected limb. In such cases other diseases may be a concern such as collagen vascular disease that could be diagnosed by special blood tests or by means of a tissue biopsy.

A.  Variations in the temperature and sweating of one side of the body suggests a neurologic disease, and if this is due to a spinal lesion, it could increase in severity and could become a serious problem. Thus a good neurologist might want to order an MRI of the spine. Another consideration is vascular disease that might be detectable if the abnormality leads to a reduction in the pulses of the affected limb. In such cases other diseases may be a concern such as collagen vascular disease that could be diagnosed by special blood tests or by means of a tissue biopsy.

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