Hypothermia Causes: What are the Causes of Hypothermia?

Hypothermia causes are varied. There are two types of hypothermia (1) primary hypothermia (which occurs in previously healthy person who is exposed to cold usually accidentally) and (2) secondary hypothermia (secondary to various severe systemic diseases).

Hypothermia causes:

  • Causes of primary hypothermia are accidental exposure to cold, which mainly occurs during winter seasons and in cold climate areas. Contrary to common belief, hypothermia is not uncommon in warm climate areas and during non-winter months.
  • Individuals with interest in skiing, hunting, mountain climbing and professions such as sailors, oil rig explorers, fishing in arctic region, various military duties involving work in extreme cold areas are at greater risk of hypothermia.
  • Extremes of ages (i.e. elderly persons and neonates) are susceptible to develop hypothermia. Elderly persons have diminished heat perception and certain conditions can interfere with health conservation and heat production in elderly person such as malnutrition, systemic illness and immobility, which increase risk of hypothermia. Neonates have high rate of heat loss due to their body surface-to-mass ratio and they do not have shivering and other adaptive behavior response to cold and cause hypothermia.
  • Malnutrition leads to diminished energy stores, which cause thermogenesis and lack of subcutaneous fat and lead to increased heat loss.
  • Various psychiatric illness and dementia can lead to hypothermia.
  • Alcohol consumption can lead to hypothermia. Alcohol leads to vasodilatation and increased heat loss. Alcohol reduces thermogenesis and glconeogenesis (production of glucose inside body from non carbohydrate sources such as proteins) and increase risk of hypothermia. Various other medications have similar effects such as phenothiazines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, tri-cyclic antidepressants.
  • Endocrine or hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism, hypopituitarism, adrenal insufficiency, hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia is common among diabetics) etc. can lead to hypothermia.
  • Various neurological injuries from trauma, cerebrovascular accident, subarachnoid hemorrhage, acute spinal cord injury, hypothalamic lesions etc. may lead to hypothermia.
  • Severe infection such as sepsis can cause hypothermia, which has very poor prognosis.
  • Various other medical disorders are associated with hypothermia, such as hepatic failure (due to decreased glycogen stores and gluconeogenesis), myocardial infarction (due to low cardiac output), due to increase peripheral blood circulation leading to increased heat loss in cases of extensive burns, psoriasis, and other skin diseases.

Hypothermia occurs due to various hypothermia causes acting simultaneously in same individual.

 

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1 Comment

  • prince bhalani May 01, 2013 08.04 pm

    this website is really informative i am gonna bookmark to it. can you share how human being mind works ?

    Reply 

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