Homeostasis in Body
In this discussion I’ve decided to make my two points about what happens when your body can no longer maintain homeostasis in temperature because of overheating and hypothermia.
As I mentioned above when a bodies temperature climbs above the average 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit the hypothalamus sends out signals to the rest of the body that allow it to cool back into safer temperatures. When it doesn’t or can’t cool down an incredibly dangerous condition can occur, and this condition is called heatstroke.
A few of the most common ways this occurs is when a person becomes dehydrated or overexerted in hot conditions. When you can’t sweat, the evaporation that cools you can’t occur. As someone who was in the rail road for seven years this was a common problem in the summer, and paying attention to the multitude of different symptoms can mean the difference between a light bout of nausea or death.
Overheating and heatstroke have pretty distinctive warning signals your body will send out. You can feel nauseous, confused or delirious, agitated, flushed, intense throbbing in your head, and the biggest sign of all is that you won’t be sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel dry or slightly moist (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017, paragraph 3). If you or someone you know starts exhibiting any of these symptoms pay attention. Call immediately for medical help, and move the person or yourself into the shade or a cooler room. Take any action that will cool the person, including removing excess clothing or submersion into cool water. Pack their major pulse points with ice packs or wet cloth. These points include the neck by the jugular vein, inside of the thighs near the groin on the femoral artery, and beneath the bicep near the armpit for the brachial artery. This helps to cool the blood as it circulates to cool the rest of the body. The more quickly you can act the less severe the consequences of heatstroke will be, without swift action prolonged heatstroke can cause swelling to the brain and vital internal organs that can result in permanent damage.
Hypothermia is yet another symptom of when your body fails to achieve and maintain homeostasis. The results of which can cause permanent damage to bodily tissue in the form of frostbite, gangrene, and without medical intervention ultimately death. When your body drops below its normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit the body sends signals to cause your muscles to shiver uncontrollably and constrict the blood vessels to hold this generated heat.
The most common way hypothermia happens is prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Watch out for wind chill when planning outings as well as not over dressing. Dress in layers and don’t overexert because the last thing you want is to start sweating. Removing wet or damp clothing will help preserve your body heat, whereas continuing to wear it will draw heat away from you at a faster rate.
Shivering is the first outward signal your body sends to let you know you’re no longer in homeostasis. Other symptoms include confusion, shallow breathing, drowsiness or exhaustion, and slurred speech. Someone with hypothermia usually isn’t aware of his or her condition because the symptoms often begin gradually. Also, the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness. The confused thinking can also lead to risk-taking behavior (Mayo Clinic, 2018, paragraph 6). Because of this I believe hypothermia to be the infinitely more dangerous of the two different conditions in your body. Seek medical attention immediately. Use a slow warming process to reverse hypothermia, move indoors if possible and remove any wet or damp clothing replacing it with dry articles or clothing.