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Heatstroke

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Definition

noun

A severe (sometimes fatal) illness caused by an overexposure to an excessive heat, which disturbs the heat-regulating mechanism and function of the body


Supplement

Heatstroke is a serious health condition since it may lead to fever, dehydration, and rapid pulse. If not attended at once it may progress to delirium, coma, or death. The human body employs thermoregulatory mechanisms to keep up a body temperature within the normal range, which is about 37 °C or 98.6 °F (measured by an oral thermometer). When the thermoregulatory mechanisms fail to do so the body tends to absorb more heat than it dissipates. The result is hyperthermia wherein the body temperature exceeds 40.6 °C (105.1 °F). A body temperature that rises and reaches that level can lead to adverse conditions such as dehydration, paralysis, or death. The word heatstroke however may be a misnomer since it does not involve a blockage or hemorrhage of blood flow to the brain.

The common symptoms of heatstroke include the following: muscle cramps or weakness, strong and rapid pulse, rapid and shallow breathing, nausea, confusion or unconsciousness, headache, flushed skin, and hot, dry skin.1


Synonym(s):

  • sun stroke
  • sunstroke
  • heat apoplexy
  • heat hyperpyrexia
  • malignant hyperpyrexia
  • thermic fever

See also:

Reference(s):
1StrokeAssociation.org. Heatstroke or Stroke. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/Heatstroke-vs-Stroke-Infographic_UCM_465499_SubHomePage.jsp.