WHAT IS HYPOTHERMIA?
A person is said to be suffering from hypothermia when their body temperature falls below 35 degrees celsius. In comparison, normal body temperature is around 37 degrees celsius.
When body temperature falls to this level, the normal heat conservation and heat generation responses of the body are unable to bring the body temperature back up - the negative feedback mechanism fails.
As the body temperature falls, the body's metabolic rate slows down. This happens because molecules have less kinetic energy, and so enzyme-controlled reactions occur more slowly. Therefore, metabolic reactions, e.g. those involved in respiration, slow down - but these are the activities that should be producing heat to increase the core body temperature. This is an example of positive feedback.
WHO IS AT RISK?
- The elderly, especially during cold winters --> they may be worried about the cost of heating their homes, so they might underuse their heating. Many elderly people are also inactive, so their bodies do not…