April 21, 2010

Heatstroke/Sunstroke - Part 4

Part 4 - Diagnosis

Sunstroke is typically diagnosed on the basis of symptoms alone. To get the best measure of your body's core temperature, your doctor may use a rectal thermometer. Your doctor may also take your blood pressure and ask for a blood or urine sample.

Your doctor may perform tests to rule out conditions with symptoms similar to those of sunstroke. Irregular heartbeats, a heart attack, a fever-causing infection, fluid loss related to medications, or cocaine intoxication can mimic sunstroke by causing elevated blood pressure and body temperature.

Risk Factors for Sunstroke:

Very old or very young age

Low level of physical activity


Smoking, drug, and alcohol use

Heart disease

High blood pressure

Diseases of the skin, kidney, or liver

Decreased ability to sweat, such as in scleroderma and cystic fibrosis

Medications that can aggravate sunstroke, including water pills (diuretics), allergy pills (antihistamines), tranquilizers, anticholinergics, and amphetamines

Heavy, restrictive clothing

Poor ventilation or lack of air conditioning in home

High humidity

This is why it is so important to get someone suspected of having heatstroke or sunstroke to a doctor or emergency room as quickly as possible. Using the 911 call is the fastest and best way and the reason this is repeated through out this discussion. Other items are repeated as well to emphasize their importance.

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