What causes accidental hypothermia and what is it you may ask. Those are good questions and the following may give you the answer.
When body temperature falls below 95 degrees, the life-threatening condition of hypothermia is said to exist. This condition exists mostly in older people. According to “Medical and Health Guide, For people Over Fifty,” it generally occurs as a result of elderly people being in their own home settings.
Most people who experience this condition, often have inadequate body heat production systems. They can be in a very warm room, yet they might feel very cold.
The reasons for the body temperature to go down, can be due to more than one medical condition. Crippling arthritis, strokes, Parkinsonism, and muscle weakness are some of the reasons that can prevent normal body movements. The lack of movement cuts down on body heat production.
Inadequate body heat production can also develop due to poor brain function. This inadequacy can be due to strokes, dementia, or from certain drugs. Antidepressants, sleeping pills, and alcohol can also decrease the body’s natural heat.
When the body temperature reaches 95 degrees, many patients experience heaviness, weakness, and stiffness in the legs. Their thinking can become slow. Sometimes it may be hard to diagnose this condition.
If the metabolic rate continues and the body temperature continues to fall, the person can become more confused and may even become unconscious. At this point, the blood pressure falls to a very dangerous level. The heartbeat is slow and irregular, and breathing grows slower.
The authors of “Medical and Health Guide” states that when the temperature goes below 80 degrees, serious damage to vital organs usually occur, and some individuals do not survive, despite vigorous treatment.
Treatment can be successful if this condition is diagnosed early. Most thermometers are not marked below 94 degrees so this condition may not be recognized.
A doctor should be consulted if a person has a history of accidental hypothermia and is exposed to temperatures of less than 60 degrees, have mobility problems, have thyroid deficiency, take tranquilizers or are receiving antidepressant therapy, and if the body temperature is less than 95 degrees.
For people who have this condition, it is important for them to take immediate action if anyone threatens to turn off their gas or electricity. It is also important to take action if the home’s heating system breaks down. Relatives, friends, and acquaintances should be aware of people who have this condition and they should make certain that they have phone numbers of people to call in case of an emergency.
Source: Medical and Health Guide for People Over Fifty