Hyperthermia/hypothermia unit management is the use of special electronically regulated blankets or pads to adjust body temperature until it returns to normal levels. The purpose of hyperthermia and hypothermia units is to correct aberrant temperature and prevent the complications that can occur when this narrow range of human body temperature is not maintained. Sometimes, body temperature is purposefully lowered to aid in certain surgical procedures. The lower body temperature allows vital organs such as the heart to survive with decreased blood supply, thus increasing the available time a surgeon has to operate. But the usual reason hyperthermia or hypothermia equipment is used is because the body has exceeded the extremes in temperature. Normally, a section of the brain known as the hypothalamus acts to regulate temperature in a manner similar to the workings of a thermostat. Body temperature is constantly monitored by the hypothalamus, and mechanisms to compensate for any abnormality are set in motion. Classic examples of such mechanisms are shivering and perspiring. The hypothalamus reacts to low body temperature by sending neurological impulses that cause shivering. Shivering in turn produces heat from within the body through muscle activity. When the body temperature rises, the hypothalamus causes fluid to be excreted via the skin as perspiration. As the perspiration evaporates, it lowers the body temperature.
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