Hypothermia occurs when the body releases more heat than it is absorbing, causing body temperature to drop to dangerously low levels. Normal human body temperature is between 97.7 and 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. A person with hypothermia has a core temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and the condition can be fatal if the temperature drops below 85 degrees. The condition can be caused by exposure in cold temperatures, or develop due to low blood sugar, extreme alcohol consumption, or anorexia, all of which can cause the body to decrease its heat production. Understanding the symptoms and treatments for hypothermia can save lives.
One of the most obvious symptoms of hypothermia is violent shivering. Shivering is the body's way of generating more heat. This process can also cause one to become clumsy and uncoordinated, perhaps missing steps or swaying from side to side. As the body decreases blood flow to the extremities to refocus it on the vital organs, the lips, ears, fingers, and toes may appear blue.
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