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Impact of heat stress on physical and mental health

Heat stress is more than just feeling hot on a sunny day; it can profoundly affect both our physical and mental well-being. When our bodies are exposed to high temperatures for extended periods, especially during strenuous activities, they struggle to regulate internal temperature and cool down. This can lead to conditions like heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. However, the consequences of heat stress extend beyond physical discomfort.

According to a study, elevated temperatures trigger vasodilation, causing blood vessels to widen in an attempt to dissipate heat. While this mechanism helps regulate body temperature, it can also lead to reduced blood pressure and compromised circulation. As a result, the heart works harder to maintain blood flow, potentially causing strain. Furthermore, dehydration from excessive sweating thickens the blood, increasing the risk of clotting. These effects underscore the importance of managing heat stress to safeguard cardiovascular health and maintain optimal blood flow.

But heat stress doesn’t just affect the body it also impacts mental health. High temperatures can increase discomfort, interfere with sleep, and disrupt daily routines. This can lead to an escalation in stress, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. Disrupted sleep patterns can contribute to mood fluctuations and exacerbate mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. In severe cases, heatstroke can even cause neuropsychiatric symptoms such as psychosis and hallucinations.

– Ranu Jain

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Last Updated: 23rd May 2024