To maintain your temperature at about.F, your body is constantly adapting to changes in air temperature, humidity, air movement, solar radiant, barometric pressure, and clothing insulation. Further, as you metabolize food, approximately of all energy in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins eventually is transformed to heat. Your body must remove this heat, or serious hyperthermia high body temperature could result. Environmental heat stress increases the requirements for sweating and circulatory responses to remove body heat. In addition, muscular exercise increases your metabolic rate above resting levels and increases the rate at which heat must be dissipated to the environment to keep your inner body temperature from rising to dangerous levels.
Using the perspectives presented in chapterheat and humidity can be viewed as unique stressors that impose an imbalance in temperature homeostasis. The resulting increase in body temperature is sensed by your brain, and increased sweat production is stimulated at many of the millions of sweat glands that lie just below your skin’s surface. Concurrently, the brain causes the smooth muscles in your skin blood vessels to relax, allowing dilation and increased blood flow to the skin while the brain diverts blood away from inner organs. These are the primary means by which you dissipate heat. The evaporation of sweat cools the skin and increased skin blood flow carries heat from your body’s core to the periphery, where warm skin releases heat to the air via nonevaporative dry means.
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Body systems and organs that respond to heat and humidity.
Figureshows the primary organs that are involved in restoring elevated body temperature to about.F through adaptive responses. Deep inside your brain lies a structure that has been identified as the region that senses environmental skin and deep body temperatures, integrates this information, and relays information to appropriate organs to initiate thermoregulatory responses. Known as the hypothalamus, this brain structure acts much like a room thermostat but also regulates thirst, fluid balance, hunger, metabolism, and reproductive hormones. In recent years, it has been recognized that the spinal cord, when heated, also influences temperature regulation by inducing responses in sweat glands and skin blood vessels.
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