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Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia, an abnormally elevated body temperature with accompanying physical symptoms including changes in the nervous system function. Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two other forms of hyperthermia that are less severe, heat stroke is a true medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated.
Heat Stroke Long Term Effects
Heat stroke leads only rarely to permanent neurological deficits and the convalescence is almost complete. There are, however, some sporadic descriptions of disturbances that lasted for up to 4 months. Little has been mentioned in the literature on residual changes in personality and late neurological side effects. The present study was conducted to follow systematically late personality and behavioral abnormalities in a population of heat stroke victims. This study analyzed 21 young subjects (age: 21 +/- 2 years), who were inflicted by heat stroke. They were invited for a physiological and psychological follow-up examination at least 6 months post-hospitalization.
The psychological assessment was comprised of the self-report symptom checklist-90R (SCL-90R), which inquires about symptoms during the 2 weeks preceding the interview. The results indicated that the subjects are psychologically healthy because their scores fell within the normal range. Comparison with a carefully matched control group strengthened this finding. The conclusion was that prominent neurological or behavioral sequelae in heat stroke victims are rare. The psychological assessments clearly indicate that heat stroke did not leave long-term adverse residues. However, one should be aware of the possible complications and follow the patient for several months after the event.
If you don't act quickly on the other symptoms of heatstroke, you could die or experience damage to your brain or other vital organs. In response to heatstroke, these organs swell, and if you don't cool your body temperature quickly, the damage from this swelling could be permanent.
Almost a full quarter of the subjects died within the year; most of them within the first three months. All of the remaining survivors suffered some amount of brain and nervous system impairment. Approximately half were diagnosed with kidney problems and blood clots, while 10 percent of the group experienced malfunction of the lungs due to inflammation. After taking into account each subject's health conditions before hospitalisation, all of these side effects were judged to be a direct result of heat stroke.
Residual Effects of Heat Stroke
Rhabdomyolysis is another complication of untreated heat stroke. It occurs when the heat damages your muscles and causes a breakdown of muscle fibers. This results in myoglobin being released into your bloodstream. Myogobin is a protein, and too much of it in the blood stream can cause damage to your kidneys.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong states that heat stroke can lead to permanent brain damage. The damage that results depends on what part of the brain is affected. One possible long-term problem is ataxia, which is a loss of the ability to control muscular movements. It can affect any area of the body and can interfere with vision and speech, as well. Another complication of brain damage from heat stroke is dysarthria. This is a condition in which the muscles in your mouth, face, and respiratory system become weak. This can lead to slurred speech and trouble breathing.
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