Abnormally low body temperature. The condition needs treatment at body temperatures of 35C (95 F) or below. And hypothermia becomes life threatening below body temperatures of 32.2 C (90 F). The signs and symptoms of hypothermia depend upon the body temperature. The major initial sign of hypothermia is a decrease in mental function that leads to impaired ability to make decisions. Tiredness or lethargy, changes in speech, and disorientation are typical. The person will act as if they are "drunk". The body gradually loses protective reflexes such as shivering which is an important heat-generating defense. Other muscle functions also disappear so that the person cannot walk or stand. Eventually consciousness is lost. Recognizing hypothermia can be difficult for the symptoms at first resemble other causes of change in mental and motor functions such as diabetes, stroke, alcohol or drug use, etc. The most important thing is to think of the possibility and be prepared to treat it. Treatment involves slow heating of the body using blankets or other ways of increasing body warmth. Body temperature should increase by NO MORE than a couple of degrees per hour. What is done for the hypothermic individual depends on the seriousness of the problem. People with mild or moderate hypothermia (are alert and conscious, and have not lost the shivering reflex) will usually just require removal from the cold environment and providing additional insulation. The use of warm sleeping bags, lighting a fire, warm food and fluids are just some of the various methods. Persons who have a more severe degree of body heat loss (not alert, can't shiver or stand) should also be brought to a medical facility as quickly as possible; rewarming of the body should continue as well. Hypothermia is intentionally induced in some types of surgery and other situations in order to slow the metabolism of the patient and decrease their need for oxygen during the procedure.
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A body temperature significantly below 98.6°F (37°C). [hypo- + G. therme, heat]
- accidental h. unintentional decrease in body temperature, especially in the newborn, infants, and elderly, particularly during operations.
- moderate h. a body temperature of 23–32°C. induced by surface cooling.
- profound h. a body temperature of 12–20°C.
- regional h. reduction of the temperature of an extremity or organ by external cold or perfusion with cold blood or solutions.
- total body h. the deliberate reduction of total body temperature, in order to reduce tissue metabolism.

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hy·po·ther·mia -'thər-mē-ə n subnormal temperature of the body <\hypothermia, defined as temperature under 36.6°C (Emergency Medicine)>
hy·po·ther·mic -mik adj

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1. accidental reduction of body temperature below the normal range in the absence of protective reflex actions, such as shivering. Often insidious in onset, it is particularly liable to occur in babies and the elderly if they are living in poorly heated homes and have inadequate clothing.
2. deliberate lowering of body temperature for therapeutic purposes. This may be done during surgery, in order to reduce the patient's requirement for oxygen.

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hy·po·ther·mia (hi″po-thurґme-ə) [hypo- + therm- + -ia] 1. a reduction of core body temperature to 35°C or lower, usually due either to coldness of the environment or artificial inducement (see induced h.). 2. a state of low temperature induced in an excised organ being preserved for transplantation.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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