A heat stroke is the most severe type of heat injury.
Below are some of the common presentations for heat stroke .
A heatstroke case is apparent to the trained naked eye but laboratory tests can aid in confirmation of the diagnosis . This will also rule out other likely causes of symptoms presented. The tests to aid in diagnosis include:
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and continues to be one of the major causes of death in sports. The main treatment is a quick reduction of the core body temperature . This is because the primary determinant of outcome is how long hyperthermia lasts. Unless the condition is a mild one, all patients who are diagnosed with any of the two types of heat stroke must be on admission for 48 hours to forestall occurrence of complications.
As soon as heat stroke is suspected, cooling needs to begin instantly and should be sustained throughout the duration of the patient’s resuscitation. If the heat stroke is suspected outside a hospital, cooling must be initiated on the spot before the individual is taken to the hospital.
Benzodiazepine and other muscle relaxants are used to stop shivers if treatments for lowering of body temperature kicks in . Shivering increases the body temperature, countering the treatment being given.
When quick and effective treatment is produced, a lot of people will recover with very little problems if any but many develop increased sensitivity to hot weather afterwards. As complications come into play however, there is a rapid decline in prognosis .
Vital organs like the brain, liver and kidneys may be permanently damaged and this often leads to long term effects on the health of the individual. Organ damage is as a result of swelling and this is why prognosis in such patients ranges from fair to poor.
People become susceptible to heatstroke with consumption of certain substances that are known to inhibit cooling and bring about dehydration . These include alcohol, caffeine, stimulants and medications. Age-related physiological changes can also predispose to so-called "classic" heat stroke.
Exertional heat stroke can happen in young people without health problems or medications, most often in athletes and military recruits.
Heat waves claim more lives every year in the US than other weather-related problems combined. This equates to 334 deaths each year approximately, more than hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined .
Internationally, heatstroke is uncommon especially in subtropical climates. In places like Japan, heat strokes are seen occasionally and it is also seen in Mecca where people from cold environments gather on pilgrimage.
Although there is big disparity in ambient temperatures, humans and other mammals can maintain a constant temperature by simply balancing heat gain and heat loss. When heat gain becomes higher than heat loss, the body temperature rises and this sees the onset of a major heat sickness .
With excessive heat comes protein denaturation. It also brings about the destabilization of lipoproteins and phospholipids and liquefies the lipid membranes. All of these lead to cardiovascular collapse, multiorgan failure and death.
There is no temperature threshold at which cardiovascular collapse must occur. This is because it varies among individuals due to certain factors like existence of a disease, drugs etc. Patients with observed temperature of as high as 46°C can survive the ordeal while those with much lower temperatures die. Temperatures that exceed 41.1°C however, require quick and aggressive therapy as most of the time it is leads to catastrophe .
Heat affects the body on a cellular level by interfering with cellular process along with denaturing of proteins as well as cellular membranes. When this happens, an array of inflammatory cytokines, interleukins and heat shock proteins are produced. The body becomes overwhelmed when the heat shock proteins produced go on to die as a result of the stress.
Some of the steps that can be taken to prevent occurrence of heatstroke are:
Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat injury. It is regarded a medical emergency. This is because heat stroke can damage vital organs including the brain . Heat stroke affects older adults more but it also affects healthy young individuals and children.
Heatstroke is a condition that arises as a result of the body overheating. It often arises from prolonged exposure to high temperatures or strenuous activities in such high temperatures. Heatstroke is the most serious form of heat injury and kicks in when the temperature of rises beyond 40° C or higher.
Most of the time heatstroke requires emergency treatments. When left untreated, heatstroke can not only damage the brain but the heart, kidneys and muscle. As treatment is delayed, damage worsens and this increases risk of death and other serious complications may also arise.