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What causes hypothermia?

The cause of hypothermia is the inability of the body's temperature regulation system to keep the body's core temperature between 35.6 C and 37.5 C (96.08 F and 99.5 F), so any body temperature below about 35.6 C (96.08 F) is considered hypothermic by many doctors.

The body regulates the core temperature by either:

  • generating heat
  • cooling, or
  • heat conservation. Heat conservation can be accomplished by peripheral vasoconstriction and by behavior; heat production is done by shivering and by increasing levels of thyroxine and epinephrine.
Return to Hypothermia

See what others are saying

Comment from: Larry, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 09

I was hiking Mt LeConte, got within two miles of the top and lost almost all of my energy. I had worn shorts that day, it was warm when we started but the higher we got it began to get cooler. I felt great starting out, no problems at all, and I am an experienced hiker and do about 50 to 60 miles every month. My hiking buddy helped me get on to the top where they had a gas heater and after about 30 minutes in front of it I was ok. I went down the mountain with no problems. I did not realize it was hypothermia happening to me, surprised.

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