Heatstroke can strike in minutes, clots blood, makes the brain swell and can be ... trends now

Heatstroke can strike in minutes, clots blood, makes the brain swell and can be ... trends now

The tragic death of my friend and colleague Dr Michael Mosley has highlighted how careful we all need to be about the risk of heatstroke – and especially the dangers we can face when away from our usual environment.

Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to control what nature has determined is the best body temperature for our vital systems to operate normally. It is potentially lethal for people of all ages and fitness.

During heatwaves in the UK it is not uncommon to hear about the deaths of elderly or infirm housebound people who are unable to cool themselves adequately. But we also frequently hear of young army recruits on training exercises who succumb to heatstroke.

It can strike at speed and be fatal within a desperately short time, it pains me to say.

Dr Michael Mosley, 67, was found dead on Sunday morning having disappeared while walking in Greece on Wednesday

Dr Michael Mosley, 67, was found dead on Sunday morning having disappeared while walking in Greece on Wednesday 

Dr Mosley succumbed to the heat on island of Symi - despite taking wise precautions such as carrying a bottle of water and an umbrella for shade

Dr Mosley succumbed to the heat on island of Symi - despite taking wise precautions such as carrying a bottle of water and an umbrella for shade 

Heatstroke is where the body temperature rises above the normal range of 36C to 37.5C. It is due to failure of the body’s cooling mechanisms and is not the same as fever, which is caused by inflammation due to an infection, for instance.

With an infection, messages are sent by inflammatory molecules to the hypothalamus – the area in the brain that controls temperature (heat is the body’s way to kill off the pathogen causing the infection).

When body temperature rises above 40.5C and there’s no feverish illness, it is called hyperthermia, or heatstroke.

Our body heat is the result of internal metabolic processes – including digestion, muscle action and even brain function, which itself uses a lot of energy – and the effect of the heat around us.

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NADINE DORRIES: Even in death, Dr Michael Mosley has taught us all one last valuable lesson...

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Our method of cooling is sweating, where the water evaporates on the skin to bring temperatures down.

However, this fail-safe is

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