Hyperthermia and Homeostasis
Definition of homeostasis is the attempt to keep equilibrium of the internal organisms despite the external environment. Homeostasis is everywhere in your body, think of the heart for a second. If you have a high blood pressure your cells send signals to your brain to slow the heart rate down to keep equilibrium, or if you have low blood pressure your heart will beat faster. Hyperthermia relates to homeostasis through numerous different systems in the body. In order to diagnose this hyperthermia certain criteria of the body tissues are set. Generally we have signs and symptoms that we use to diagnose people with certain issues. Signs of hyperthermia can include increase in temperature, generally greater than 104F, tachycardia, tachypnea, coma, convulsions, and vomiting. Symptoms of hyperthermia can include dizziness, confusion or delirium. Hyperthermia can cause hyperthyroidism, brain injury, heat stroke, bacterial or viral infection. “The hypothalamus is the bodies major control center for homeostasis. Bathed in blood adjacent to the third ventricle of the brain, it receives information from the temperature of blood circulating around it and from temperature receptors in the peripheral nerves, spinal cord, and abdominal organs. Besides body temperature, the hypothalamus helps regulate the autonomic nervous system, water balance, and endocrine system function.” (Beard; 30) One example of the way your body attempts homeostasis when undergoing hyperthermia is when your body sweats, this mechanism is set up to cool down the skin. Energy is released through our muscles and in the expense of energy we create heat which allows our sweat glands to produce sweat. This message for your body to sweat and cool down is done so through messenger cells being sent to the hypothalamus, this part of the brain sends back a message to your outlying body systems. This is called a positive feedback system when the body is allowed to get over heated and then that change in the body sends positive feedback to the brain. Because at a certain point of heat exhaustion your body can become severely dehydrated from remaining in a hyper thermic state, you will see absence of sweat or no tears in people that are severely hyper thermic. So the bodies’ glands will become dry and you will not see the initial signs of over-heating in the body anymore. At a microscopic level HSP’s (Heat Shock Protein’s) is a protein that is synthesized for overheating prevention. The protein can serve two different purposes. For this purpose of preventing overheating, they are released from inside the cell to serve as messenger cells. This messenger protein sends the signal to the immune system to kick in and cool down the body. HSP’s are more thoroughly discussed in an article from Current Protocols in Immunology. Hyperthermia is directly related to the Basal Metabolic Rate. Basal Metabolic Rate “reflects the energy the body needs to perform only its most essential activities.” (Marieb and Hoehn; 833) So essentially the basal metabolic rate will increase with any additional needs, exercise, stress or illness on the body. When heat production becomes greater than heat loss through our body systems our body is a hyperthermic state. Our bodies’ homeostasis mechanisms to create heat loss is through radiation, conduction/convection and evaporation. We already discussed evaporation through our sweat glands. A new example is through radiation. Radiation is the heat or cool being absorbed by nearby objects, having a cool window open may help cool things down, removing warm objects can help reduce heat radiation.
An example at a cellular level would be the body giving off a signal to the brain to release sweat glands and release heat from the muscles, but when your body does everything it can to cool down it starts to hold back water so you don’t dehydrate as fast as if you kept sweating. When you are losing water...
Cited: "Info for Specific Groups." Information for Specific Groups|Extreme Heat. CDC, n.d. Web. 08 Feb. 2014.
Marieb, Elaine Nicpon, and Katja Hoehn. Anatomy & Physiology. San Francisco, CA: Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, 2008. Print.
Beard, Robin M., and Michael W. Day. "Fever And Hyperthermia." Nursing 38.6 (2008): 28-31. Print.
Li, Z. and Srivast.ava, P. 2004. Heat-Shock Proteins. Current Protocols in Immunology, 58:A.1T.1–A.1T.6.
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