What Causes a Persistent Low Grade Fever and How Is It Treated?
A persistent low grade fever (PLGF) is one that lasts longer than two weeks or less than three days. A PLGF may occur at any age but it tends to increase with age. Some of the reasons why a person develops a PLGF are:
3. Other medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, thyroid problems, liver diseases and others.
The most common reason for developing a PLGF is infection. Common infections include viral illnesses like colds and flu; bacterial illnesses like pneumonia; parasitic illnesses like tapeworms; fungal infections such as candida albicans and many other types of infections.
Inflammation is another major factor. This means that the body’s immune system is overactive and attacks healthy cells. Inflammatory reactions occur when these normal cells become damaged due to some type of stress or injury. These reactions are often triggered by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and other types of pathogens. For example, if a virus infects your blood stream then it will cause an inflammatory reaction which could lead to a PLGF.
Other medical conditions that may lead to a PLGF include:
-Diabetes mellitus: This is a condition in which the body’s blood sugar level is too high. This is often due to a lack of insulin or the inability of the body to respond to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas. Poorly managed diabetes mellitus can cause a variety of illnesses including heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems and others.
-Kidney disease: When the kidneys do not function properly it can lead to a variety of health problems. For example, if the kidneys are not eliminating waste from your body then this can cause a PLGF. This is because your blood becomes more toxic and your immune system becomes overworked.
-Thyroid disease: Many people suffer from thyroid problems. In these cases, the thyroid may produce too much thyroid hormone or the body may become resistant to thyroid hormone. Both of these can cause a variety of symptoms and illnesses. One of the possible side effects is a PLGF.
-Liver disease: The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It helps to regulate many of the body’s internal processes including digestion, metabolism, protein synthesis and others. When the liver is not functioning properly it can cause a variety of symptoms including a PLGF.
-Stress: This is a very general term and it is often difficult to measure. In some cases, a PLGF can be caused by extreme stress due to mental illness, post-traumatic stress or from other sources. In these cases, the body’s immune system may overreact and attack healthy cells.
With all of this in mind, if you develop a PLGF then you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is always better if it is started early on. In most cases, a physical examination, medical history and a series of lab tests can determine what is causing the problem. Sometimes treatment may not be necessary if the cause is temporary and your body will heal itself or the fever will go away on its own. In other cases, treatment may involve medication or even physical intervention such as a blood transfusion.
There are many causes of a low-grade fever, but this is a condition that you should always discuss with your doctor.
A low-grade fever is usually caused by an inflamed area of the body, such as a skin wound or infection.
There are over 200 types of bacteria that can cause an infection in humans and they can infect any area of the body. The majority of common bacterial infections are curable with antibiotics. Unfortunately, drug-resistant strains have appeared over the years that make treatment more difficult.
Many autoimmune diseases cause a low-grade fever as well. These diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own cells as if they were harmful. In some cases, a low-grade fever can be caused by a physical or mental stressor and is usually temporary.
A low-grade fever is usually harmless and will go away on its own within a few days. If it is causing discomfort, then take over-the-counter pain medication to relieve the symptoms. If the fever persists for more than three days, then you should seek medical attention.
A low-grade fever is a side effect of many autoimmune diseases and should not be confused with the flu, which is caused by a virus.
If you have a low-grade fever caused by an infection, it is important to treat the area of infection with antibiotics.
If you have a low-grade fever that persists for over three weeks or gets worse, see your doctor immediately.
Sources & references used in this article:
Fever phobia: misconceptions of parents about fevers by BD Schmitt – American journal of diseases of children, 1980 – jamanetwork.com
Southwestern Internal Medicine Conference: fever of undetermined origin: not what it used to be by JW Smith – The American journal of the medical sciences, 1986 – Elsevier
What parents think of fever. by I Blumenthal – Family practice, 1998 – academic.oup.com
Auto inflammatory syndromes: diagnosis and treatment by K Stankovic, G Grateau – Joint Bone Spine, 2007 – Elsevier
Q fever endocarditis by A Stein, D Raoult – European heart journal, 1995 – academic.oup.com
Stereotactic brachytherapy with iodine-125 seeds for the treatment of inoperable low-grade gliomas in children: long-term outcome by MI Ruge, T Simon, B Suchorska, R Lehrke… – Journal of clinical …, 2011 – ascopubs.org