BikiCrumbs: Thermoregulation

From Biki


  • Definition: maintenance of core body temperature 1 degree more/less of 37 degrees, the body generates/conserves/dissipates heat
  • Body temperature is controlled though the hypothalamus, adequate body fluid levels are needed for it to work properly

Temperature Regulation

  • Heat balance when: heat production = heat loss
  • Heat gained/generated: metabolism and muscle action (voluntary: physical exercise + involuntary: shivering)
  • Heat lost:
    • Convection: flow of air across the skin, eg wind chill factor
    • Conduction: involves skin contact eg ice packs, warm water
    • Radiation: to the surrounding atmosphere
    • Evaporation: of sweat

Environmental Conditions

  • Air temperature and humidity are important, > dry + breezy = easy evaporation
  • Caution if 25-30 degrees or 90%+ humidity
  • Thermoregulatory imbalance cause by dehydration can cause heat exhaustion + heat stroke
  • Children are especially susceptible to heat illness
  • Hypothermia: heat loss > heat gain = subnormal body temperature
  • Hyperthermia: excessively high body temperature, usually in hot, humid conditions (hard to evaporate)
  • Heat conservation mechanisms: vasoconstriction (decrease in blood vessel size = less blood to that area) + shivering
  • Wind + cold: combined effect of convection and radiation (?)
  • Heat loss in cold water is rapid because combined radiation + convection
  • Subcutaneous fat assist in heat conservation (eg marathon swimmers)

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