The human body is ‘designed’ to maintain an internal temperature close to 37 degrees (one tenth more, one less depending on the person and the context). When the ambient temperature exceeds this figure, our body activates a series of mechanisms (such as sweating or dilating blood vessels) to try to cool off. But what happens when the thermometers soar and we reach extreme heat thresholds? According to a new report from the University of Roehampton (United Kingdom), when the mercury rises above above 40 or 50ºC our body reaches «a critical state» which, in the most extreme cases, can lead to multi-organ failure and even death.
The explanation is the following. Parachute fight extreme heatour body starts up all its machinery to try to reduce the internal temperature. To do this, one of the first things he does is speed up his metabolic rate (that is, the mechanism that allows him to obtain energy to, in turn, start other thermal regulation processes). When the heat is moderate, these tools usually work successfully. But when the thermometers shoot up to extreme values, all these internal circuits start to fail and, in turn, the body begins to accumulate cascading damage.
When the thermometers rise above 40 or 50 degrees, the body enters a «critical state»
In the most extreme cases, the high temperatures can damage from cell membranes to organs such as the brain, lungs and liver, as well as the entire cardiovascular system. One of the most affected ‘circuits’ is precisely that of the heart, which in order to try to keep all the machinery running begins to pump blood with more intensity (which causes, on the one hand, an increase in heart rate and, on the other, a drop in blood pressure). all this can end leading to heart failure or a multi-organ failure that, in the most serious cases, can cause death.
Public health problem
Years ago, experts and health authorities began pointing to extreme heat as a public health problem. Especially now that, according to the most important scientific studies carried out to date, high temperatures have become more and more frequent and, in the future, they could go further. Forecasts suggest that by the end of the century in the entire Mediterranean area, including Spain, thermometers could skyrocket between four and seven degrees compared to current thresholds. This factor, in turn, will also prevent the risk of more extreme and frequent heat waves.
But why are high temperatures so dangerous? According to the experts, «heat is a disease trigger«In most cases, in fact, people do not die from heat stroke. Mortality during episodes of extreme temperatures tends to skyrocket by»cardiovascular problems either aggravated respiratory due to high temperatures». Last summer, according to calculations by the Carlos III Health Institute, there were some 20,000 more deaths than normal due to months of extreme heat in which hundreds of temperature records were reached and higher temperatures were recorded. at 40 degrees in various parts of the country.