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Hypothermia Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is hypothermia?

The medical emergency hypothermia occurs when you lose heat from your body quicker than it tends to produce, causing a critically low temperature of the body. 98.6 F which makes 37 C is a normal body temperature, hypothermia occurs when the body temperature reaches below 95 F.

Moreover, such considerable dropping of body temperature means your nervous system, heart plus other organs of the body fails functioning normally. In case, left untreated, the condition can eventually cause complete respiratory system and heart failure, leading to death.

In addition to this, often the condition is triggered due to cold weather exposure. Primary hypothermia treatments involve ways to bring back the body at normal temperature.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia?

You are more likely to notice shivering soon as the body temperature begins to drop since it is the automatic defense of the body against the cold temperature.

Few common symptoms in case of mild hypothermia are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Slight confusion.
  • Trouble speaking.
  • Faster breathing.
  • Nausea.
  • Hunger.
  • Dizziness.
  • Increased rate of heartbeat.
  • Shivering.

Few common symptoms in case of severe hypothermia include:

  • Lack of coordination or clumsiness.
  • Mumbling or slurred speech.
  • Shivering, however as the condition tends to worsen, it may stop.
  • Low energy or drowsiness.
  • Weak pulse.
  • Progressive consciousness loss.
  • Shallow breathing.

The symptoms in infants with hypothermia include:

  • Weak cry.
  • Too low energy.
  • Cold, bright red skin.

What are the causes of hypothermia?

Cold water and cold-weather exposure are the two most common reasons that trigger hypothermia. Few conditions that also lead hypothermia are:

  • Prolong stay in a cold temperature place.
  • Wearing clothes which fails to warm your body in weather conditions.
  • Wearing wet clothes for long.
  • Accidental falls such as boating accident in winter.
  • Not enough heating in your home, particularly for infants and older adults.
  • Too cold air conditioning particularly for infants and older adults.

What are the risk factors of hypothermia?

Risk factors which make you more likely to develop hypothermia include:

  • Older adults.
  • Children.
  • Mental problems.
  • Drug and alcohol use.
  • Certain medications such as sedatives, narcotic pain drug, antipsychotics and antidepressants.
  • Certain health conditions such as hypothyroidism, stroke, trauma, severe arthritis, burns etc.

What are the complications of hypothermia?

Few other injuries (cold-related) associated with hypothermia include:

  • Gangrene (Death and decay of tissue due to blood flow interruption).
  • Frostbite (Freezing of your body tissues).

How is hypothermia diagnosed?

Usually the conditions and physical signs of an individual are enough to diagnose hypothermia. However, blood tests can also be conducted in order to confirm the condition plus its severity.

How is hypothermia treated?

Well, depending on its severity, emergency medical treatment can involve the below mentioned intervention/interventions in order to raise your body temperature:

  • Airway rewarming.
  • Irrigation.
  • Warm intravenous fluids.
  • Blood rewarming.

By : Natural Health News

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