Heat intolerance

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Heat intolerance is a symptom characterized by feeling overheated in warm environments or when the surrounding environment's temperature rises. [1] Typically, the person feels uncomfortably hot and sweats excessively.


Compared to heat illnesses like heatstroke, heat intolerance is usually a symptom of endocrine disorders, drugs, or other medical conditions, rather than the result of too much exercise or hot, humid weather.


In patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), heat intolerance may cause a pseudoexacerbation, which is a temporary worsening of MS-related symptoms. A temporary worsening of symptoms can also happen in patients with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and dysautonomia.[ citation needed ]


Diagnosis is largely made from the patient history, followed by blood tests and other medical tests to determine the underlying cause. In women, hot flashes must be excluded.[ citation needed ]


Excess thyroid hormone, which is called thyrotoxicosis (such as in cases of hyperthyroidism), is the most common cause. [1] [2]

Other causes include:


Treatment is directed at making the affected person feel more comfortable, and, if possible, resolving the underlying cause of the heat intolerance.

Symptoms can be reduced by staying in a cool environment. Drinking more fluids, especially if the person is sweating excessively, may help.

Cooling vests can be used as a preventative tool to reduce a person's body temperature or when symptoms present to feel more comfortable.

Related Research Articles

Orthostatic hypotension, also known as postural hypotension, is a medical condition wherein a person's blood pressure drops when standing up or sitting down. The drop in blood pressure may be sudden, within 3 minutes or gradual. It is defined as a fall in systolic blood pressure of at least 20 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure of at least 10 mmHg when a person assumes a standing position. It occurs predominantly by delayed constriction of the lower body blood vessels, which is normally required to maintain adequate blood pressure when changing the position to standing. As a result, blood pools in the blood vessels of the legs for a longer period, and less is returned to the heart, thereby leading to a reduced cardiac output and inadequate blood flow to the brain.

Autonomic neuropathy Medical condition

Autonomic neuropathy is a form of polyneuropathy that affects the non-voluntary, non-sensory nervous system, affecting mostly the internal organs such as the bladder muscles, the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, and the genital organs. These nerves are not under a person's conscious control and function automatically. Autonomic nerve fibers form large collections in the thorax, abdomen, and pelvis outside the spinal cord. They have connections with the spinal cord and ultimately the brain, however. Most commonly autonomic neuropathy is seen in persons with long-standing diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2. In most—but not all—cases, autonomic neuropathy occurs alongside other forms of neuropathy, such as sensory neuropathy.

Polyuria Excess urination

Polyuria is excessive or an abnormally large production or passage of urine. Increased production and passage of urine may also be termed diuresis. Polyuria often appears in conjunction with polydipsia, though it is possible to have one without the other, and the latter may be a cause or an effect. Primary polydipsia may lead to polyuria. Polyuria is usually viewed as a symptom or sign of another disorder, but it can be classed as a disorder, at least when its underlying causes are not clear.

Dysautonomia Any disease or malfunction of the autonomic nervous system

Dysautonomia or autonomic dysfunction is a condition in which the autonomic nervous system (ANS) does not work properly. This may affect the functioning of the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils, and blood vessels. Dysautonomia has many causes, not all of which may be classified as neuropathic. A number of conditions can feature dysautonomia, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, dementia with Lewy bodies, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy and autonomic neuropathy, HIV/AIDS, autonomic failure, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

Flushing (physiology) Medical condition

Flushing is to become markedly red in the face and often other areas of the skin, from various physiological conditions. Flushing is generally distinguished, despite a close physiological relation between them, from blushing, which is milder, generally restricted to the face, cheeks or ears, and generally assumed to reflect emotional stress, such as embarrassment, anger, or romantic stimulation. Flushing is also a cardinal symptom of carcinoid syndrome—the syndrome that results from hormones being secreted into systemic circulation.

Palpitations Perceived cardiac abnormality in which ones heartbeat can be felt

Palpitations are perceived abnormalities of the heartbeat characterized by awareness of cardiac muscle contractions in the chest, which is further characterized by the hard, fast and/or irregular beatings of the heart.

Familial dysautonomia (FD) is a rare, progressive, recessive genetic disorder of the autonomic nervous system that affects the development and survival of sensory, sympathetic and some parasympathetic neurons in the autonomic and sensory nervous system.

Orthostatic intolerance (OI) is the development of symptoms when standing upright that are relieved when reclining. There are many types of orthostatic intolerance. OI can be a subcategory of dysautonomia, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system occurring when an individual stands up. Some animal species with orthostatic blood pressure have evolved to cope with orthostatic disturbances.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome Condition in which a change from lying to standing causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition in which a change from lying to standing causes an abnormally large increase in heart beat rate. This occurs with symptoms that may include lightheadedness, trouble thinking, blurred vision, or weakness. Other commonly associated conditions include Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, mast cell activation syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, chronic headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. It can be treated with lifestyle changes such as increasing fluid and salt intake, compression stockings, rising slowly after lying down, avoiding prolonged bedrest, and medication.

Lightheadedness is a common and typically unpleasant sensation of dizziness or a feeling that one may faint. The sensation of lightheadedness can be short-lived, prolonged, or, rarely, recurring. In addition to dizziness, the individual may feel as though their head is weightless. The individual may also feel as though the room is "spinning" or moving (vertigo). Most causes of lightheadedness are not serious and either cure themselves quickly, or are easily treated.

Tilt table test Medical procedure often used to diagnose dysautonomia or syncope

A tilt table test (TTT), occasionally called upright tilt testing (UTT), is a medical procedure often used to diagnose dysautonomia or syncope. Patients with symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness, with or without a loss of consciousness (fainting), suspected to be associated with a drop in blood pressure or positional tachycardia are good candidates for this test.

Inappropriate sinus tachycardia (IST) is a rare type of cardiac arrhythmia within the category of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). IST may be caused by the sinus node itself having an abnormal structure or function, or it may be part of a problem called dysautonomia, a disturbance and/or failure of the autonomic nervous system. Research into the mechanism and etiology (cause) of inappropriate sinus tachycardia is ongoing.

Da Costas syndrome Medical condition

Da Costa's syndrome is a psychiatric syndrome which presents a set of symptoms similar to those of heart disease. These include fatigue upon exertion, shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating, and chest pain.

Acrocyanosis Vascular disease

Acrocyanosis is persistent blue or cyanotic discoloration of the extremities, most commonly occurring in the hands, although it also occurs in the feet and distal parts of face. Although described over 100 years ago and not uncommon in practice, the nature of this phenomenon is still uncertain. The very term "acrocyanosis" is often applied inappropriately in cases when blue discoloration of the hands, feet, or parts of the face is noted. The principal (primary) form of acrocyanosis is that of a benign cosmetic condition, sometimes caused by a relatively benign neurohormonal disorder. Regardless of its cause, the benign form typically does not require medical treatment. A medical emergency would ensue if the extremities experience prolonged periods of exposure to the cold, particularly in children and patients with poor general health. However, frostbite differs from acrocyanosis because pain often accompanies the former condition, while the latter is very rarely associated with pain. There are also a number of other conditions that affect hands, feet, and parts of the face with associated skin color changes that need to be differentiated from acrocyanosis: Raynaud phenomenon, pernio, acrorygosis, erythromelalgia, and blue finger syndrome. The diagnosis may be challenging in some cases, especially when these syndromes co-exist.

Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN) or hereditary sensory neuropathy (HSN) is a condition used to describe any of the types of this disease which inhibit sensation.

Syncope (medicine) Transient loss of consciousness and postural tone

Syncope, commonly known as fainting, is a loss of consciousness and muscle strength characterized by a fast onset, short duration, and spontaneous recovery. It is caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain, typically from low blood pressure. There are sometimes symptoms before the loss of consciousness such as lightheadedness, sweating, pale skin, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, or feeling warm. Syncope may also be associated with a short episode of muscle twitching. Psychiatric causes can also be determined when a patient experiences fear, anxiety, or panic; particularly before a stressful event usually medical in nature. When consciousness and muscle strength are not completely lost, it is called presyncope. It is recommended that presyncope be treated the same as syncope.

Orthostatic headache Medical condition

Orthostatic headache is a medical condition in which a person develops a headache while vertical and the headache is relieved when horizontal. Previously it was often misdiagnosed as different primary headache disorders such as migraine or tension headaches. Increasing awareness of the symptom and its causes has prevented delayed or missed diagnosis.

Dopamine beta hydroxylase deficiency Medical condition

Dopamine beta (β)-hydroxylase deficiency is a condition involving inadequate dopamine beta-hydroxylase. It is characterized by increased amounts of serum dopamine and the absence of norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine. Dopamine is released, as a false neurotransmitter, in place of norepinephrine. Other names for norepinephrine include noradrenaline (NA) and noradrenalin. This condition is also sometimes referred to as "norepinephrine deficiency". Researchers of disorders such as schizophrenia are interested in studying this disorder, as patients with these specific diseases can have an increase in the amount of dopamine in their system and yet do not show other symptoms of DβH deficiency.

Orthostatic hypertension is a medical condition consisting of a sudden and abrupt increase in blood pressure (BP) when a person stands up. Orthostatic hypertension is diagnosed by a rise in systolic BP of 20 mmHg or more when standing. Orthostatic diastolic hypertension is a condition in which the diastolic BP raises to 98 mmHg or over in response to standing, but this definition currently lacks clear medical consensus, so is subject to change. Orthostatic hypertension involving the systolic BP is known as systolic orthostatic hypertension.

Autoimmune autonomic ganglionopathy (AAG) is a rare form of dysautonomia in which the patient’s immune system produces ganglionic anti-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) antibodies, inhibiting ganglionic AChR currents and impairing transmission in autonomic ganglia. Symptoms onset can be acute, subacute or gradual.


  1. 1 2 "Heat intolerance: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". MedlinePlus. 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  2. 1 2 Wilkins, Lippincott Williams &. Nursing: Interpreting signs & symptoms . Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007-03-01 . ISBN   9781582556680. p. 306–307.
  3. Wang, Hui J.; Lee, Chang Seok; Yee, Rachel Sue Zhen; Groom, Linda; Friedman, Inbar; Babcock, Lyle; Georgiou, Dimitra K.; Hong, Jin; Hanna, Amy D.; Recio, Joseph; Choi, Jong Min (2020-10-09). "Adaptive thermogenesis enhances the life-threatening response to heat in mice with an Ryr1 mutation". Nature Communications. 11 (1): 5099. Bibcode:2020NatCo..11.5099W. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18865-z. ISSN   2041-1723. PMC   7547078 . PMID   33037202.
  4. "Autonomic neuropathy" from U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedLine Plus. Accessed 2015-05-20.