CASE Medicine
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Extreme Temperature

Be it the heat of the of the Sahara or the cold of the Antarctic, the human body must adapt in order to survive in environments where extreme temperatures are experienced. Humans are homeothermic, which means the body is designed to regulate its temperature around a set point of 37 degrees Centigrade regardless of the environmental temperature.

This requires a number of physiological changes when extreme temperatures are experienced and each of these mechanisms can only protect the body to a certain external temperature. However, some individuals have a remarkable ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

Injuries form heat and cold exposure require specialist medical input and benefits from ongoing research in these fields.

Exertional heat stoke is a life-threatening condition that can occur in healthy individuals during excessive exercise in moderately warm environments and is seen regularly in endurance sporting events in the UK.