Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thermoregulation

Thermoregulation is needed to keep our body temperature within certain boundaries, even when the temperature in the environment is very different. It does use up quite a bit of energy but on the other hand it allows our metabolic reactions to be independent on the surrounding temperature. Homeotherm is based on hypothalamus keeping the gain and loss of heat equal. If we didn't control our temperature, it would raise about 1,2 °C per hour only because of the basal metabolism. That is why we have developed several methods of managing it.

About 65 % of the heat loss of a naked human happens by heat radiation and about 15 % by conducting to the surrounding air and the surfaces touched and a varying part by convection (moving air or water etc.). Evaporation happens from every wet surface and thus perspiration is a good way to cool yourself. It is also the only mechanism to maximize heat loss when the environment is hotter than the body (e.g. in sauna). Also blood vessels dilate in hot vicinity and contract in cold.

What is the function of fever then? Why does it raise the temperature? Fever is caused by a variety of substances made by leukocytes which affect the hypothalamus to raise the temperature. It appears that fever is more harmful to pathogens than our system and that way helping the immune system. That's why it isn't useful to decrease fever with anodynes unless you're having a very high temperature.



18 comments:

  1. Thermoregulation.... As soon as I can remember how to say it, I can bring it up in conversation next time with someone.

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  2. I'm sick of it when people keep trying to avoid getting sick and whatnot. I'm 18 and haven't been sick in over two years maybe. Getting sick young makes you stronger older.. As Erika said, I'm going to use this in a future convo; "It appears that fever is more harmful to pathogens than our system and that way helping the immune system".

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  3. If you sweat a lot it's good for the body, but somehow I still don't like it. -.-

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  4. Interesting stuff mate, that was a good read.

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  5. Good info, thanks for sharing

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  6. yea when im sick I always try to induce a semi high fever, helps get over the sickness faster.

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  7. Wow, something I was always kind of curious about. Thanks for the info!

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  8. Kind of reminds me of homeostasis

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  9. That's some stuff I didn't know about.. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. That's for explaining the details on that. I was never really sure how it all worked!

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  11. Homeostasis is very important, good post.

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  12. I'm a person who sweats A LOT, I don't get tired easily, but I do sweat like no other :p

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  13. Never even heard of this before. O_O

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