Latest World News: Heat affects not only the body, but also the brain: due to the high temperature

An intense heat wave persists in Asia, Europe and North America, with residents seeking relief from scorching temperatures. Wildfires are raging in Greece and the Canary Islands, while authorities from California to China are issuing health warnings due to extreme heat.

China is experiencing extreme weather conditions, with the thermometer showing temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit). Beijing hit a new record high of 27 straight days with temperatures above 35C (95F), and a remote township in the Turpan depression hit a record high of 52.2C (126F), according to a report from AlJazeera.

The rage of heat waves

Greece fighting forest fires near Athens and firefighters are working tirelessly to protect coastal refineries. Another heat wave is expected, with temperatures predicted to reach 44C (111F).

Italian Sardinia and Sicily could surpass the continent-wide temperature record of 48.8°C (120°F) set in Sicily in 2021.

Spain is facing its third heat wave of the summer, causing distress for locals and tourists.

In Francerecord temperatures of 29.5C (85.1F) were recorded at Alpe d’Huez, and Verdun saw 40.6C (105.1F) for the first time.

THE the Canary Islands are battling a massive fire that has already consumed 3,500 hectares (8,650 acres) of forest, leading to evacuations and poor air quality.

Tens of millions of Americans are experiencing dangerous heat levels, with an extremely dangerous and prolonged heat wave expected to persist in the Southwest and spread to South-Central and Southeast regions.

According to experts, heat does not only have an impact on the body, but also on the brain. Here’s how:


Heat stress and its impact on the brain

  • Heat stress occurs when the body struggles to cool itself, leading to potential health issues. It may affect our Cognitive function and even cause episodes of fainting. The brain plays a crucial role in regulating body temperature and reacts to heat through sweating.
  • Distribution of the blood-brain barrier: At high temperatures, the blood-brain barrier, a protective layer around the brain, can begin to break down, according to a report by Discover the magazine. This allows unwanted substances, such as proteins and ions, to build up in the brain, causing inflammation and disrupting normal brain function. Additionally, proteins can unfold, leading to cell death in the brain.
  • Involvement in the hypothalamus: The hypothalamus, a region of the brain responsible for regulating the body’s internal temperature, becomes important in how heat affects us. It signals the sweat glands to produce sweat and cool the body.
  • Dehydration and brain function: Excessive sweating at higher temperatures leads to water loss, which is the body’s way of maintaining temperature balance. However, if adequate hydration is not maintained, dehydration can occur, affecting brain function. Adequate fluid intake is essential for optimal bodily functioning.

Impact on people with neurological diseases:

People with neurological disorders may have difficulty regulating their body temperature and tolerating heat. For example, people with multiple sclerosis, a brain-related disease, are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of heat on brain efficiency.

Apart from this, heat also has many adverse effects on a person’s overall physical health:

The effects of extreme heat on the body

  • Risk of sunburn and skin cancer: According to a report by Observer, excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn and damage the DNA of skin cells. Repeated sunburn increases the likelihood of developing skin cancer because cells can grow out of control due to DNA damage.
  • Lung health and air quality: Hot weather can worsen air quality, making it harder to breathe. Ground-level ozone, a harmful gas formed by pollutants reacting to sunlight, can reduce lung function and exacerbate asthma, leading to morbidity and mortality.
  • Fatigue and hyperthermia: Hyperthermia occurs when the body’s heat-regulating mechanisms fail, leading to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. As body temperature rises, fatigue sets in, along with symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and thirst. Heat stroke, a medical emergency, can cause dry skin, mental dysfunction and, if left untreated, lead to seizures, coma and death.
  • Impact on the heart: Hot temperatures cause blood vessels to dilate, which lowers blood pressure and can lead to dizziness and nausea. The heart compensates by pumping more blood per beat, but with lowered blood pressure it has to work harder, which increases the heart rate. As global temperatures rise, death rates may increase due to added stress on the cardiovascular system, the report explains.

Protect yourself during extreme heat:

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    • Seek shelter: Stay indoors in air-conditioned places as much as possible to avoid extreme temperatures, in accordance with the US CDC guidelines.
    • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids regularly, even if you’re not thirsty, to avoid dehydration.
    • Plan outdoor activities: If you must go out, plan activities for the cooler hours of the day to minimize heat exposure.
    • Dress wisely: Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing with sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
    • Take it easy: Pace yourself and avoid overexertion in hot weather to prevent heat-related illnesses.
    • Chill: Take cool showers or baths to help lower your body temperature.
    • Check on others: Check on your friends, neighbors and family members regularly, and have someone do the same for you, to keep everyone safe.
    • Never leave children or pets in cars: Avoid leaving children or pets in parked cars, even for a short time, as temperatures inside a vehicle can become dangerous quickly.
    • Stay informed: Keep an eye out for local news and updates on health and safety measures in the event of extreme heat.

    With contributions from agencies

    news deskThe News Desk is a team of passionate editors and writers who break and analyze … Read more

    first publication: July 23, 2023, 10:53 a.m. HST

    Last update: July 23, 2023, 10:55 a.m. HST

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