What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia?

The clinical presentation (signs and symptoms) of hypothermia varies greatly from patient to patient and also according to the severity of the condition. In many of the cases diagnosis of hypothermia is comparatively easy to make, when the history of exposure to environmental factors can be obtained, such as exposure to outdoor during winter without adequate clothing. But diagnosis may be difficult in urban areas and different clinical conditions (such as toxin, poisons, psychiatric disorders) which may lead to lowered body temperature should be considered.

Initially hypothermia stimulate majority of organ systems, which is followed by progressive depression of most organ systems. Different clinical manifestations of hypothermia also appear at different time according to severity of hypothermia. Clinically hypothermia can be divided into three categories according to body temperature, namely mild (body temperature 95 to 90 degree Fahrenheit or 35-32.2 degree Centigrade), moderate (below 90 to 82.4 degree Fahrenheit or below 32.2 – 28 degree Centigrade) and severe hypothermia (below 82.4 degree Fahrenheit or 28 degree Centigrade).

Signs and symptoms of mild hypothermia (95 to 90 degree Fahrenheit):

  • Respiratory symptoms: Fast breathing, bronchospasm, increased bronchial secretions.
  • Cardiovascular symptoms: initially high pulse rate followed by slow pulse rate. Increased blood pressure.
  • CNS and neuromuscular symptoms: amnesia, maladaptive behavior, impaired judgment, increased muscle tone and fatigue.
  • Renal symptoms: increased urine output.

Signs and symptoms of moderate hypothermia (below 90 to 82.4 degree Fahrenheit):

  • Respiratory symptoms: hypoventilation and absence of reflexes that protect airways.
  • Cardiovascular symptoms: pulse rate, cardiac output and blood pressure reduce.
  • CNS and neuromuscular symptoms: level of consciousness decreases, dilatation of pupils of eyes, hallucination, paradoxical undressing, reduced reflexes etc.
  • Renal symptoms: normal urine output.

Signs and symptoms of severe hypothermia (below 82.4 degree Fahrenheit):

  • Respiratory symptoms: pulmonary congestion and reduction in oxygen consumption, apnea etc.
  • Cardiovascular symptoms: blood pressure and pulse rate progressively decreases. Risk of ventricular fibrillation and asystole.
  • CNS and neuromuscular symptoms: loss of eye reflexes, progressive decline in cerebral blood flow and coma.
  • Renal symptoms: progressive decline in urine output as cardiac output and blood pressure reduces.

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1 Comment

  • Perla September 23, 2012 11.08 pm

    I conceive you have observed some very interesting points , thankyou for the post.

    Reply 

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