Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia,
elevated body temperature
with accompanying physical symptoms including changes in the nervous system
Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, two
other forms of hyperthermia
that are less severe,
heat stroke is a true
medical emergency that is often fatal if not properly and promptly treated.
Heat stroke is also sometimes referred to as heatstroke or sun stroke. Severe
hyperthermia is defined as a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher.
The body normally generates heat as a result of
metabolism, and is usually able to dissipate the heat by radiation of heat through
the skin or by evaporation of sweat. However, in extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous
physical exertion under the sun, the body may not be able to dissipate the heat and the
body temperature rises, sometimes up to 106 F (41.1 C) or higher.
Another cause of heat stroke is
dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able
to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which causes the body temperature to
Heat stroke is not the same as a stroke. "Stroke"
is the general term used to describe decreased oxygen flow to an area of the
Those most susceptible (at risk) individuals to heat strokes include:
the elderly (often with associated
heart diseases, lung diseases,
kidney diseases, or who are taking medications that make them vulnerable to
dehydration and heat
individuals who work outside and physically exert themselves under the sun.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 5/14/2013
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
During a heat wave, it's important to know and be able to
recognize the signs and symptoms of a heat-related illness. There are different
types of heat-related illnesses, ranging from those that cause temporary
discomfort to the generally fatal condition known as heat stroke. In all heat-related
illnesses, the symptoms appear when a person is exposed to extreme temperatures.
The following checklist can help you recognize the symptoms of heat-related
Heat Rash: Heat rash is a
skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can
occur at any age. Heat rashlooks like a
red cluster of pimplesor small
Heat cramps: A person who has been exercising or participating in
other types of strenuous activity in the heat may develop painful muscle
spasms in the arms, legs, or abdomen referred to as
heat rash. The body
temperature is usually normal, and the skin will feel moist and cool, but
Photosensitivity (or sun sensitivity) is inflammation of the skin induced by
the combination of sunlight and certain medications or substances. This causes
redness (erythema) of the skin and may look simila"...