Many Factors Affect Thermoregulatory Responses and Tolerance to Heat and Cold

Regular physical exercise and heat acclimatization increase heat tolerance and the sensitivity of the sweating response. Aging has the opposite effect,- in healthy 65-year-old men, the sensitivity of the sweating response is half of that in 25-

year-old men. Many drugs inhibit sweating, most obviously those used for their anticholinergic effects, such as atropine and scopolamine. In addition, some drugs used for other purposes, such as glutethimide (a sleep-inducing drug), tricyclic antidepressants, phenothiazines (tranquilizers and antipsychotic drugs), and antihistamines, also have some anticholinergic action. All of these and several others have been associated with heatstroke. Congestive heart failure and certain skin diseases (e.g., ichthyosis and anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia) impair sweating, and in patients with these diseases, heat exposure and especially exercise in the heat may raise body temperature to dangerous levels. Lesions that affect the thermoregulatory structures in the brainstem can also alter thermoregulation. Such lesions can produce hypothermia (abnormally low core temperature) if they impair heat-conserving responses. However, hyperthermia (abnormally high core temperature) is a more usual result of brainstem lesions and is typically characterized by a loss of both sweating and the circadian rhythm of core temperature.

Certain drugs, such as barbiturates, alcohol, and phe-nothiazines, and certain diseases, such as hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism, congestive heart failure, and septicemia, may impair the defense against cold. (Septicemia, especially in debilitated patients, may be accompanied by hypothermia, instead of the usual febrile response to infection.) Furthermore, newborns and many healthy older adults are less able than older children and younger adults to maintain adequate body temperature in the cold. This failing appears to be due to an impaired ability to conserve body heat by reducing heat loss and to increase metabolic heat production in the cold.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment