Nervous System Case Study In thiscase study, a 16-year-old male named Martin was mowing lawns when the boystarted to experience light-headedness and nausea. At the last mowing job thatday, the patient passed out after showing very uncharacteristic behavior. Martinwas taken to the emergency room and the patient’s skin was dry, even though thepatient had been sweating profusely previously. The mostlikely diagnosis for Martin at this point is heat illness, more specificallyheat stroke. Heat stroke occurs when your core body temperature gets to 104oFor higher and can cause damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles in thebody (CDC, 2017).
Martin’s core body temperature when taken at the hospital was105oF, which could lead to a heat stroke if untreated. Being that thepatient was on the sixth lawn of the day, Martin was more than likelydehydrated. Martin initially suffered from heat exhaustion, based on hisprofuse sweating before fainting and being admitted to the ER. However, uponarrival to the ER it was reported that his skin felt dry which is another majorsign of heat stroke. It isn’t uncommon for dehydration and heat exhaustion tolead to heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is typically a precursor to heat stroke. Martinreported feeling fatigued, light-headed, and nauseated which are all signs ofheat exhaustion.
Since Martin did not rest and cool down his body temperaturethroughout the day, his body was not able to regulate his body temperature wellenough which caused it to rise above 104oF and heat stroke set in(Mayo Clinic, 2017). The best thing Martin could havedone to prevent heat stroke is to rest and hydrate as the patient was working.Martin and his mowing partner, should have begun to recognize his symptoms atthe previous client’s lawn. Cooling him down earlier could have prevented mildheat illness from becoming heat stroke. After heat stroke had set in, the doctors would have tried severalcooling techniques. Some cooling techniques would include ice baths and coolingblankets (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) have also been helpful in treatment of fevers. NSAIDs has been able todo this because they work at a molecular level to inhibit COX enzymes.
This isimportant because COX enzymes have been found to make prostaglandins, which arechemicals that promote fever, inflammation, and pain (Simons et at., 2000).Thermoregulation is the process the human body uses tomaintain a stable core temperature. A healthy core temperature ranges between98 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The body has flexibility when it comes to coretemperature, but if temperatures reach extremes the body’s function can becompromised. To maintain equilibrium,the body uses sweating, vasodilation, vasoconstriction, thermogenesis, andhormonal thermogenesis (Holland, 2016). When the autonomic nervous system senses a change in bodytemperature, a signal is sent throughout the body to begin perspiration.
Oncethe body beings to perspire the skin becomes moist. The sweat evaporates andcauses the core temperature to begin to cool down (Roth, 2016). The circulationsystem works along with perspiration to cool the human body.
As the coretemperature of the body rises, the active cutaneous vasodilation is activatedby the sympathetic nervous system. The human body is capable of sending up to60% of cardiac output to the skin (Charkoudian, 2010). The enormous amount ofblood supply to the skin is needed so that heat can be quickly transferred fromthe core to skin’s surface. As blood is transferred to the surface of the skin,sweat evaporates and the thermal gradient allows heat to transfer from theblood to the skin and then in to the environment. The blood that has cooleddown then is transferred back to the core to help lower the core temperature(Charkoudian, 2010). Vasoconstriction is activated by two branches of thesympathetic nervous system when the body’s core temperature drops.
Blood flowto the skin is decreased to prevent heat exchange with the skin and environment(Charkoudian, 2010). Thermogenesis is more commonly known as shivering. Whenthe body gets too cold the muscles contract and expand in quick bursts. Theexpanding and contracting produces heat which raises body temperature (Bryner,2013).
Hormonal thermogenesis causes the thyroid gland to secrete hormones thatincrease metabolism. The increase in metabolism creates an increase in energyand heat (Holland, 2016). Martinsuffered from dehydration coupled with heat illness. The dehydration limitedMartin’s ability to sweat, severely reducing his ability to dissipate heatthrough the skin. The reduced heat loss through the skin quickly caused a risein body temperature, leading to heat stroke. Hydration and common coolingtechniques, such as cool towels and relocation to cooler areas, could haveprevented this heat illness.
Awareness of heat illness symptoms when working inhigh temperature conditions is important for all working in high heatenvironments. LiteratureCitedBryner,M. 2013. Why Do We Shiver When Cold? Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/32475-why-do-we-shiver-when-cold.
html Accessed January25, 2018.CDC. 2017. Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-RelatedIllness. Retrieved January 25, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/disaster/extrememheat/warning.html Charkoudian,N.
2010. Mechanisms and modifiers of reflex cutaneous vasodilation andvasoconstriction in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology. 109(4): 1121-1228.Holland,K. 2016. Thermoregulation. Health Line.
https://www.healthline.com/health/thermoregulation Accessed January 25, 2018. Mayo Clinic. 2017.
Heatstroke. Retrieved January 25, 2018,from https://www.mayoclinic.
org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581 Roth, E.2016. Sweating (Normal Amounts): Causes, Adjustments, and Complications. HealthLine. https://www.
healthline.com/health/sweating Accessed January 25, 2018.Simons,D., Wagner, D.
, Westover, K. 2000. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs,Acetaminophen, Cyclooxygenase 2, and Fever. ClinicalInfectious Diseases. 31(5):211–218.