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Narrow range of temperature

You have probably seen news stories about athletes who died of heat stroke, or hikers who died of exposure to cold. Such deaths occur because the chemical reactions upon which the body depends can only take place within a narrow range of body temperature, from just below to just above 37°C (98.6°F). When body temperature rises well above or drops well below normal, certain proteins (enzymes) that facilitate chemical reactions lose their normal structure and their ability to function and the chemical reactions of metabolism cannot proceed.

That said, the body can respond effectively to short-term exposure to heat ( [link] ) or cold. One of the body’s responses to heat is, of course, sweating. As sweat evaporates from skin, it removes some thermal energy from the body, cooling it. Adequate water (from the extracellular fluid in the body) is necessary to produce sweat, so adequate fluid intake is essential to balance that loss during the sweat response. Not surprisingly, the sweat response is much less effective in a humid environment because the air is already saturated with water. Thus, the sweat on the skin’s surface is not able to evaporate, and internal body temperature can get dangerously high.

Extreme heat

This photo shows two white-clad men riding camels through a sparse desert. Two canvas tents are visible in the background.
Humans adapt to some degree to repeated exposure to high temperatures. (credit: McKay Savage/flickr)

The body can also respond effectively to short-term exposure to cold. One response to cold is shivering, which is random muscle movement that generates heat. Another response is increased breakdown of stored energy to generate heat. When that energy reserve is depleted, however, and the core temperature begins to drop significantly, red blood cells will lose their ability to give up oxygen, denying the brain of this critical component of ATP production. This lack of oxygen can cause confusion, lethargy, and eventually loss of consciousness and death. The body responds to cold by reducing blood circulation to the extremities, the hands and feet, in order to prevent blood from cooling there and so that the body’s core can stay warm. Even when core body temperature remains stable, however, tissues exposed to severe cold, especially the fingers and toes, can develop frostbite when blood flow to the extremities has been much reduced. This form of tissue damage can be permanent and lead to gangrene, requiring amputation of the affected region.

Everyday connection

Controlled hypothermia

As you have learned, the body continuously engages in coordinated physiological processes to maintain a stable temperature. In some cases, however, overriding this system can be useful, or even life-saving. Hypothermia is the clinical term for an abnormally low body temperature (hypo- = “below” or “under”). Controlled hypothermia is clinically induced hypothermia performed in order to reduce the metabolic rate of an organ or of a person’s entire body.

Controlled hypothermia often is used, for example, during open-heart surgery because it decreases the metabolic needs of the brain, heart, and other organs, reducing the risk of damage to them. When controlled hypothermia is used clinically, the patient is given medication to prevent shivering. The body is then cooled to 25–32°C (79–89°F). The heart is stopped and an external heart-lung pump maintains circulation to the patient’s body. The heart is cooled further and is maintained at a temperature below 15°C (60°F) for the duration of the surgery. This very cold temperature helps the heart muscle to tolerate its lack of blood supply during the surgery.

Some emergency department physicians use controlled hypothermia to reduce damage to the heart in patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest. In the emergency department, the physician induces coma and lowers the patient’s body temperature to approximately 91 degrees. This condition, which is maintained for 24 hours, slows the patient’s metabolic rate. Because the patient’s organs require less blood to function, the heart’s workload is reduced.

Questions & Answers

describe the muscles found in the heart
Atotwe Reply
myocardial
Kenndy
thank you very much
Atotwe
asalamu aleikum
Cabdala
what is a muscular system and details about it
Jackson Reply
what is the type of homones responseble for blenking of eyes
Moses Reply
what are the functions of cell?
Keyirangzile Reply
how does the femur act as a lever?
Mutoni Reply
what is stumac
Abdussalam Reply
What is phagocytosis
Mohamed Reply
Phagocytosis, process by which certain living cells called phagocyte
Sadashiv
It is the process that is carried out by the immune system of the body, that certain specialized immune cells (macrophages, Nks, dendritic cells, etc) that engulf and neutralize the foreign substances that invades the body.
Wesley
So that they can be predicate out of the body.
Wesley
phagocytosis is the process by which living cell or yh plasma membrane engulf large molecules into it internal environment ... it also known as food feeding
Boateng
all that you are say what does it mean?
Dzah
simply is the way the immune system fights foreign bodies by engulfing them..
Dzah
by the help of the immune cells...
Dzah
what are the six types of connective tissues
Athieno Reply
loose and dense , cartilage and bone , blood and lymph
Queen
describe the structure of the liver
Atwebembeire Reply
what is specific name for spinal cord
Stanley Reply
what is the best description for skeletal muscular
Stanley
what is the best description for skeletal muscular
Stanley
costs of bones of skeleton, their joint s and voluntary
grace
what are examples of long bones
grace
example of long bones will be the femur tibia and humerus and even radius
Nina
so basically long bones are mostly in you hands and feets
Nina
skeletal muscular are voluntary and are attached to the bone by tendon which help maintain the posture and position of the body and it also protects internal organs in the abdominal region
Nina
The specific name for spinal cord is coccygeal segment
Sandra
what are the hormones responseble for blenking of eyes.
Moses
Smallest unit of life
Kimberly Reply
cell
Adnan
The cell is the smallest structural and functional unit of living organisms, which can exist on its own. Therefore, it is sometimes called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as bacteria or yeast, are unicellular—consisting only of a single cell—while others, for instance, mammalians, a
Adnan
cells are the building blocks of life
Stanley
Describe the complications of fracture
Zaifa Reply
functions of connective tissue
renah Reply
binding and structural support protection Insulation Transport of materials
Priyantha
what is a local potential
Nandi Reply
potential of neurons
vipin
response of neurons against sodium ion Chanel
vipin
The resting membrane potential of a neuron is about -70 mV (mV=millivolt) - this means that the inside of the neuron is 70 mV less than the outside. At rest, there are relatively more sodium ions outside the neuron and more potassium ions inside that neuron.
Adnan
what is tissues
Addai Reply
are groups of specialized cell that perform they same activity
Deng
a group of specialized cells of the same structure and function
Malenga
a group of specialized cells that have the same structure and perform the same function
Cantiago
tissue is a group of specialised cells performing similar functions and are of the same embryonic origin
Maura
group of specialized cells that have similar structure and act together to perform a specific function
esekon
a group of specialised cell which has same function
Grace
a group of specialized cells that perform the same function.
faiz
group of one or more cell types that specialized to perform a particular function.
Priyantha

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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