Updated: 5 days ago
Hyperthermia and Fever
Here is a link to the hyperthermia presentation:
Fever is a natural immune response to harmful and life-threatening infections. Conversely, blocking fever can be deleterious because fever evolved as a defense against infection. Fever works by causing damage to pathogens and infected cells while sparing healthy cells.
Many potential pathogens can survive and function over a wide range of temperatures cooler than their optimum. However, temperatures slightly higher than the optimum can damage infectious species. Some modes of action include proteins, enzymes, membrane lipids, RNA, and DNA. Specifically, hyperthermia disrupts DNA synthesis in the cells of pathogens and "host" cells.
Fever may create equal harm to pathogens and healthy tissue, at least in the short term. However, our tissues have repair and recovery pathways that are part of our physiology. Pathogens do not have this ability. Instead, they depend upon replication to proliferate. When a single cell in our body is destroyed from hyperthermia, disease, or even exercise, it is repaired or replaced. When a single pathogen is destroyed, it loses all ability to sustain and repair. Also, our tissue does not signal an attack response from our immune system, but pathogens do.
In the case of pathogens, if they can "hide" from immunity or hyperthermia, they survive or thrive through replication. But this is seldom the case. Root canals are an example of an area where pathogens can "hide" and then replicate there and spread and replicate elsewhere. Also, hyperthermia-induced artificially rather than through a fever may not globally increase body temperature. In this instance, the pathogen "escapes" the impact of the internal temperature change.
If our tissue is damaged or destroyed by fever/hyperthermia, it will be repaired.
If a pathogen is present, fever or hyperthermia will reduce its population.
Immunity will also reduce pathogen populations.
Pathogens tend to be more susceptible to fever/hyperthermia.
If the pathogen burden is sufficiently reduced, the immune system can control or eliminate it.
According to Scientific American,[i] "Fever is an elevated temperature of the human body that is substantially beyond the normal range. Normal body temperature fluctuates daily from about one degree below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to one degree above that number. Lower body temperatures usually occur before dawn; higher temperatures occur in the afternoon."
However, even a slight increase in temperature, especially at nighttime, may indicate a low-grade chronic infection. Night sweats signify a slightly elevated nighttime temperature as this is the time when core body temperature is below the normal value. Chris Wilson, M.D., surgeon lieutenant of the Royal Navy, describes his long journey with Lyme disease in an article titled "my years with Lyme disease."[ii] He stated, "Constant pain, feeling permanently hung over, being unable to stand properly, and soaking erstwhile sleep partners, courtesy of night sweats, did not augur well for relationships."
Tuberculosis (TB) is historically known to cause night sweats. It is an ancient disease that has affected mankind for over 4,000 years.[iii] It is a chronic disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis and spreads from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs but can also affect other body parts, such as the brain, intestines, kidneys, or the spine. Symptoms of TB depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. For example, pulmonary TB may cause symptoms such as chronic cough, pain in the chest, hemoptysis, weakness or fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.
Scientific American further explains that "the hypothalamus, which sits at the base of the brain, acts as the body's thermostat. It is triggered by floating biochemical substances called pyrogens, which flow from sites where the immune system has identified potential trouble to the hypothalamus via the bloodstream. Some pyrogens are produced by body tissue; many pathogens also produce pyrogens. When the hypothalamus detects them, it tells the body to generate and retain more heat, thus producing a fever. Children typically get higher and quicker fevers, reflecting the pyrogens' effects on an inexperienced immune system."
However, this temperature regulation is not what causes our internal temperature to be "normal." Our physiological reactions are what set our internal temperature. The hypothalamus works to regulate our normal temperature. Sweat is most likely the regulatory system initiated by the hypothalamus. Thermoregulation of body temperature is a more complex interplay between physiological reactions. It is a balance between heat production and heat dissipation. Heat is generated or absorbed internally as a byproduct of any metabolic process. Heat absorption is an endothermic process, while exothermic processes cause heat production. The balance between these two reaction types set the core body temperature of approximately 98.7°F