logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Geriatrics Site

BellaOnline's Geriatrics Editor

g

Hypothermia Can Be Deadly

Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.

Hypothermia, or a very low body temperature, can be life-threatening. Even with proper care of patients admitted to the hospital with hypothermia, the mortality rate can still be quite significant.

What leads to hypothermia?

Excessive or prolonged exposure to cold is a very common cause of hypothermia. While this serious condition can usually be prevented, it is important to realize that many cases of hypothermia are not simply due to being outside in extremely cold weather for a long time. A person can develop hypothermia in her own home as she sleeps or even as she goes about her regular daily routine. In this time of economic hardship, many people may find themselves unable to heat their homes or they may turn their thermostats down very low to save on energy bills. Remember to protect yourself and now allow yourself to become too cold. (Please see signs of hypothermia below.)

In addition to cold exposure, other things can precipitate hypothermia. For instance, an under-active thyroid gland can lead to hypothermia, as can an under-active adrenal gland, a severe infection, thiamine deficiency, a low blood sugar, and even malnutrition, to name a few common conditions.

Even some medications can contribute to hypothermia, such as some oral anti-diabetic medications, high blood medications, including beta-blockers, and some medications that treat anxiety or depression. Of course, all such drugs do not cause hypothermia and even those that do cause a low body temperature do not do so in all individuals or at a level that is usually of any major clinical significance.

What is the definition of hypothermia?

Hypothermia is defined clinically as a core body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius (or 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Mild hypothermia is a core body temperature ranging from 32-35 degrees Celsius (90-95 degrees Fahrenheit).

Moderate hypothermia is a core body temperature ranging from 28–32 degrees Celsius (82-90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Severe hypothermia is a core body temperature of less than 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).

How does hypothermia damage the body?

The body's cells are altered by fluxes in body temperature. For instance, the membranes that surround the cells themselves are impacted by cold temperature. Cells can ultimately die as a result of damage to their membranes. The cellular proteins malfunction and the water within cells can literally crystallize.

The brain tries to counteract a cold challenge by stimulating heat production, such as through shivering and other mechanisms, but if the cold temperature is severe or sustained, the body's protective mechanisms may not be powerful enough to overcome the stress.

What are some signs of hypothermia?

The following are some of the major symptoms that may be seen with hypothermia of differing degrees. However, it is important to realize that the lack of any of these symptoms does not rule out hypothermia. Likewise, the presence of these symptoms does not confirm a person has hypothermia.

Mild hypothermia:
Rapid respiratory rate and heart rate
Poor judgment
Shivering
Incoordination
Incoherent speech

Moderate hypothermia:
Low respiratory rate and decreased heart rate
Lack of shivering

Severe hypothermia:
Low blood pressure and heart rate
Shortness of breath due to fluid collecting in the lungs, also known as pulmonary edema
Potentially fatal heart rhythms

The winter months can be beautiful, but they can also be deadly. Take all appropriate precautions to protect yourself from hypothermia.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Twitter Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Facebook Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to MySpace Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Del.icio.us Digg Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Yahoo My Web Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Google Bookmarks Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Stumbleupon Add Hypothermia+Can+Be+Deadly to Reddit




Patient School
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Geriatrics Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by A. Maria Hester, M.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

g


g features
Know Your Body Mass Index

Hospitalist Challenges

Don't Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor