Symptoms of Heat Stroke

By Larry Anderson

Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, is a condition that is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. It is caused by high temperatures and strenuous activity--both of which golfers are subject to--that raise the core body temperature to 104 degrees or higher. Advanced heat stroke can cause brain damage, organ failure and even death. Recognizing the symptoms can prevent such serious consequences.

High Body Temperature

A body temperature of 104 degrees or higher is the primary symptom of heat stroke, though some people may not realize their body temperature has climbed to such levels.

No Sweat

Another early indication that your body temperature is too high is if you have been sweating and suddenly the sweating ceases. When heat stroke results from exposure to hot weather, the skin itself will become dry and hot to the touch. When strenuous exercise is the cause, the skin will feel moist. But in both cases, sweat will not be evident. The skin may appear red and flushed.

Hyperventilating

People who have heat stroke may experience quick and shallow breathing--hyperventilation--and may have difficult breathing.

Increased Pulse and Heart Rate

The normal pulse rate for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute, according to the Mayo Clinic. People experiencing heat stroke may have a pulse of 130 beats per minute or more. This occurs because the heat causes your heart to beat faster as it works to cool your body.

Neurological Problems

Some of the neurological symptoms of heart stroke include a loss of consciousness, confusion, agitation, seizures or hallucinations. Sufferers also may have a hard time talking or understanding what other people are saying.

Muscle Effects

The presence of muscle cramps or a general feeling of weakness are signs of the onset of heat stroke. During the early stages, muscles may feel tender or cramped, but as heat stroke progresses, muscles may become rigid or limp.

Like a Heart Attack

Some people experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke actually believe they are having a heart attack because some of the symptoms--nausea, vomiting and dizziness, for example--are the same or similar.

About The Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.

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