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Old 04-15-2008, 01:33 PM   #1
Bob Slydell
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"thin blood" -- Reality or Myth?

Years ago, I worked with a group out of Miami. We usually went down to their office to work, but one week, a couple of the guys had to come up to Cleveland for meetings.

Cleveland, in February

After a couple days of whining from them, I pointed out to them (good naturedly ) that the two of them were from the North originally. One grew up in Jersey, the other in Chicago.

They told me that they'd been in Miami so long that their blood had "thinned out", so cold temperatures bothered them a lot more. They said that's why Floridians throw on a coat when it's in the 50's while Northerners grab the shorts and golf clubs in the same temps.

So, is thin blood a real thing or is it simply an urban legend? I've spent my entire life in the North, so I figured I wouldn't have an idea whether it's true or not.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #2
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My opinion is anecdotal, and not based on scientific research, but I think the theory is a bunch of baloney.

Heck, I live in a cold climate, last week it got into the high 40's, and we were all outside without coats. On Saturday it was almost 70. On Sunday morning we went for a walk. It was in the 40's again, but I was so cold that I put on my winter coat.

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #3
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I swore when I moved to Florida I would jump in my pool every year on Christmas day just to say I did it.

That latest about three years.

I cant go in the pool much after Halloween anymore.

Yes I believe your blood thins out, or at least your tolerance to the cold disappears.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:41 PM   #4
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I don't think it's so much thinned out blood as much as it is diminished tolerance.
For example: the first day it hits the mid 40's-50's here in the spring, people are out in short sleeves, flip flops, and have the windows wide open. But once you get to fall, that's when people reach for their jackets and start talking about turning the heat on.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crankyshank View Post
I don't think it's so much thinned out blood as much as it is diminished tolerance.
Yeah, it has nothing to do with the viscosity of your blood......
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:44 PM   #6
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Here's what I found on the matter:

Increase in the viscosity of blood has to do with an increase in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) Increase in red blood cells:

An increase in red blood cell mass is known as polycythemia. Normal physiological increases in the RBC count occurs at high altitudes (and this, as one may stand to reason, is associated with colder weather) At high altitudes, less atmospheric weight pushes air into the lungs, causing a decrease in the partial pressure of oxygen and hypoxia. Your body responds to this decrease by making more RBC's, helping get more oxygen to your brain and other body parts (RBC's carry oxygen molecules).

So yes, higher altitudes, colder weather, thicker blood. Lower alititude, warmer weather, thinner blood.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelhalo View Post
Here's what I found on the matter:

Increase in the viscosity of blood has to do with an increase in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) Increase in red blood cells:

An increase in red blood cell mass is known as polycythemia. Normal physiological increases in the RBC count occurs at high altitudes (and this, as one may stand to reason, is associated with colder weather) At high altitudes, less atmospheric weight pushes air into the lungs, causing a decrease in the partial pressure of oxygen and hypoxia. Your body responds to this decrease by making more RBC's, helping get more oxygen to your brain and other body parts (RBC's carry oxygen molecules).

So yes, higher altitudes, colder weather, thicker blood. Lower alititude, warmer weather, thinner blood.

I didn't actually think that blood physically thinned.

That's some pretty geeky stuff, BTW.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:47 PM   #8
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I don't live in the south (actually more from your neck of the woods), but I do vacation for 2 weeks in Fl. at the end of the year. I can tell you that even for a short trip, my body has to reacclimate to the winter weather. And don't even get me started about the change in arthritis pain.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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I walk up and down hills regularly at 5,000 ft, usually about 3 miles at a stretch, 3 or 4 times a week. When I'm in Fla, walking is a breeze, and I have amazing endurance. At home, it's never as easy.

I don't notice cold differences as much as endurance differences.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:51 PM   #10
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well,

My DD and her DH moved to Pensacola, Fl two years ago after having living in MN all their lives.

They just freeze now when they come up to MN for visit. Evven in the house, I have ot turn up the thermostat.

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Old 04-15-2008, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Slydell View Post
I didn't actually think that blood physically thinned.

That's some pretty geeky stuff, BTW.
Same here. Learned my thing for today then.....
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelhalo View Post
Here's what I found on the matter:

Increase in the viscosity of blood has to do with an increase in the number of red blood cells (RBCs) Increase in red blood cells:

An increase in red blood cell mass is known as polycythemia. Normal physiological increases in the RBC count occurs at high altitudes (and this, as one may stand to reason, is associated with colder weather) At high altitudes, less atmospheric weight pushes air into the lungs, causing a decrease in the partial pressure of oxygen and hypoxia. Your body responds to this decrease by making more RBC's, helping get more oxygen to your brain and other body parts (RBC's carry oxygen molecules).

So yes, higher altitudes, colder weather, thicker blood. Lower alititude, warmer weather, thinner blood.
Interesting, I never would have thought there as science behind it!! However, I have lived in S. Florida for almost two years. Today it's in the upper 60's and I have on pants and a lightweight sweater and I was COLD in the parking lot at the store. I don't go in the pool or to the beach in the winter, I wait until summer. Interesting!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:05 PM   #13
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I have had several family and friends move from the north to warmer climates. They all have said the same thing. Though most don't say "blood thinned" but say that they have just adapted to the climate. They could move back, but they don't want to

I didn't realize that thinning blood though was really part of it though
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:20 PM   #14
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I think it goes the other way too. I can't tolerate heat above 85 or so and most Floridians scoff at the idea that that's hot. On the other hand, it's mid 50's today and I was comfortable going out at lunch without a coat.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:24 PM   #15
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Polycythemia is a disease. While you may produce more red blood cells living at much higher altitudes, you don't lose red blood cells by living in warm weather climates. Your blood does not thin because you moved from Maine to Florida. If one feels the cold more acutely after living in a warm climate it is most likely due to a tolerance issue.



polycythemia /poly·cy·the·mia/ (-si-them´e-ah) an increase in the total cell mass of the blood.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

absolute polycythemia an increase in red cell mass caused by increased erythropoiesis, which may occur as a compensatory physiologic response to tissue hypoxia or as the principal manifestation of polycythemia vera.
hypertonic polycythemia stress p.
relative polycythemia a decrease in plasma volume without change in red blood cell mass so that the erythrocytes become more concentrated (elevated hematocrit), which may be an acute transient or a chronic condition.
polycythemia ru´bra p. vera.
secondary polycythemia any absolute increase in the total red cell mass other than polycythemia vera, occurring as a physiologic response to tissue hypoxia.
stress polycythemia chronic relative polycythemia usually affecting white, middle-aged, mildly obese males who are active, anxiety-prone, and hypertensive.
polycythemia ve´ra a myeloproliferative disorder of unknown etiology, characterized by abnormal proliferation of all hematopoietic bone marrow elements and an absolute increase in red cell mass and total blood volume, associated frequently with splenomegaly, leukocytosis, and thrombocythemia.
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