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Heat intolerance

  • Definition
    • Heat intolerance is a feeling of being overheated when the temperature around you rises. It can often cause heavy sweating.

      Heat intolerance usually comes on slowly and lasts for a long time, but it may also occur quickly and be a serious illness.

  • Alternative Names
    • Sensitivity to heat; Intolerance to heat

  • Causes
    • Heat intolerance may be caused by:

      • Amphetamines or other stimulants, such as those found in drugs that suppress your appetite
      • Anxiety
      • Caffeine
      • Menopause
      • Too much thyroid hormone (thyrotoxicosis)
  • Home Care
    • Exposure to extreme heat and sun can cause heat emergencies or illnesses. You can prevent heat illnesses by:

      • Drinking plenty of fluids
      • Keeping inside room temperatures at a comfortable level
      • Limiting how much time you spend outdoors in hot, humid weather
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider if you have unexplained heat intolerance.

  • What to Expect at Your Office Visit
    • Your provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination.

      Your provider may ask you questions like these:

      • When do your symptoms occur?
      • Have you had heat intolerance before?
      • Is it worse when you exercise?
      • Do you have vision changes?
      • Are you dizzy or fainting?
      • Do you have sweating or flushing?
      • Do you have numbness or weakness?
      • Is your heart beating fast, or do you have a rapid pulse?

      Tests that may be performed include:

      • Blood studies
      • Thyroid studies (TSH, T3, free T4)
  • References
    • Kim M, Ladenson P. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 226.

      Sawka MN, O'Connor FG. Disorders due to heat and cold. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 109.