Items in AFP with MESH term: Heat Stress Disorders
ABSTRACT: The body's ability to regulate core temperature depends on both host (internal) and environmental (external) factors. Although athletes are commonly thought to be most at risk for heat illnesses, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Heat cramps, which are caused by fluid and electrolyte imbalances, are treated with massage, and fluid and electrolyte replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs both as water- and sodium-depleted types, with associated symptoms such as malaise, vomiting, and confusion. Treatment involves taking the affected person to a cool environment and replacing fluids and electrolytes if needed. In more serious cases, intravenous hydration may be necessary, although monitoring of serum sodium levels is important to prevent cerebral edema. If not treated promptly, heat exhaustion may evolve into heatstroke, a deadly form of heat illness. Heatstroke occurs in classic and exertional forms and is present when the core body temperature exceeds 40 degrees C (104 degrees F). The patient may experience cardiac arrhythmias, rhabdomyolysis, serum chemistry abnormalities, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and death. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that should be treated immediately with temperature-lowering techniques such as immersion in an ice bath or evaporative cooling. Fluid resuscitation is important but should be closely monitored, and renal function may need to be protected with mannitol and diuretics. It is important to be vigilant for heat illnesses because they occur insidiously but progress rapidly.
ABSTRACT: Proteinuria is a common finding in adults in primary care practice. An algorithmic approach can be used to differentiate benign causes of proteinuria from rarer, more serious disorders. Benign causes include fever, intense activity or exercise, dehydration, emotional stress and acute illness. More serious causes include glomerulonephritis and multiple myeloma. Alkaline, dilute or concentrated urine; gross hematuria; and the presence of mucus, semen or white blood cells can cause a dipstick urinalysis to be falsely positive for protein. Of the three pathophysiologic mechanisms (glomerular, tubular and overflow) that produce proteinuria, glomerular malfunction is the most common and usually corresponds to a urinary protein excretion of more than 2 g per 24 hours. When a quantitative measurement of urinary protein is needed, most physicians prefer a 24-hour urine specimen. However, the urine protein-to-creatinine ratio performed on a random specimen has many advantages over the 24-hour collection, primarily convenience and possibly accuracy. Most patients evaluated for proteinuria have a benign cause. Patients with proteinuria greater than 2 g per day or in whom the underlying etiology remains unclear after a thorough medical evaluation should be referred to a nephrologist.
Heat-Related Illness - Article
ABSTRACT: Heat-related illness is a set of preventable conditions ranging from mild forms (e.g., heat exhaustion, heat cramps) to potentially fatal heat stroke. Hot and humid conditions challenge cardiovascular compensatory mechanisms. Once core temperature reaches 104°F (40°C), cellular damage occurs, initiating a cascade of events that may lead to organ failure and death. Early recognition of symptoms and accurate measurement of core temperature are crucial to rapid diagnosis. Milder forms of heat-related illness are manifested by symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness, and an inability to continue activity. These are managed by supportive measures including hydration and moving the patient to a cool place. Hyperthermia and central nervous system symptoms should prompt an evaluation for heat stroke. Initial treatments should focus on lowering core temperature through cold water immersion. Applying ice packs to the head, neck, axilla, and groin is an alternative. Additional measures include transporting the patient to a cool environment, removing excess clothing, and intravenous hydration. Delayed access to cooling is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in persons with heat stroke. Identification of at-risk groups can help physicians and community health agencies provide preventive measures.
ABSTRACT: Global warming will cause significant harm to the health of persons and their communities by compromising food and water supplies; increasing risks of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases and heat stress; changing social determinants of health resulting from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and expanding flood plains; and worsening air quality, resulting in additional morbidity and mortality from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Vulnerable populations such as children, older persons, persons living at or below the poverty level, and minorities will be affected earliest and greatest, but everyone likely will be affected at some point. Family physicians can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stabilize the climate, and reduce the risks of climate change while also directly improving the health of their patients. Health interventions that have a beneficial effect on climate change include encouraging patients to reduce the amount of red meat in their diets and to replace some vehicular transportation with walking or bicycling. Patients are more likely to make such lifestyle changes if their physician asks them to and leads by example. Medical offices and hospitals can become more energy efficient by recycling, purchasing wind-generated electricity, and turning off appliances, computers, and lights when not in use. Moreover, physicians can play an important role in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by advocating for enforcement of existing air quality regulations and working with local and national policy makers to further improve air quality standards, thereby improving the health of their patients and slowing global climate change.