Accession Number:

ADP012427

Title:

Human Adaptations to Heat and Cold Stress

Descriptive Note:

Corporate Author:

ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA

Report Date:

2002-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

15.0

Abstract:

Heat acclimation consists of adaptations that mitigate physiological strain of heat stress, which improve thermal comfort and exercise capabilities. Adaptations are induced by repeated heat exposures that are sufficiently stressful to elevate core and skin temperatures and elicit perfuse sweating. Most adaptations to daily heat exposure occur during the first four days, and the remainders are complete by three weeks. Heat acclimation mediated adaptations include lower core temperature, improved sweating and skin blood flow, lowered metabolic rate, reduced cardiovascular strain, improved fluid balance, and increased thermal tolerance i.e., cellular stress protein adaptations. These adaptations vary somewhat depending if exposed to dry or humid heat. Adaptations to chronic cold exposure can be categorized into three basic patterns habituation, metabolic adaptations and insulative adaptations. The exact determinant of which pattern will be induced by chronic cold exposure is unclear, but the magnitude and extent of body cooling, frequency and duration of exposure, and individual factors all influence the adaptive process. Habituation is characterized by blunted shivering and cutaneous vasoconstriction body temperature may decline more in the acclimatized than unacclimatized state. It is the most common cold adaptation and results from periodic short-term cold exposures. Metabolic adaptations are characterized by enhanced thermogenesis that develops when cold exposures are more pronounced, but not severe enough to induce significant declines in core temperature. Insulative adaptations are characterized by enhanced vasoconstriction and redistribution of body heat toward the shell that develops from repeated cold exposures severe enough to induce marked declines in core temperature.

Subject Categories:

  • Stress Physiology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE