The Big Number: Extreme heat kills 618 people every year

The sizzling heat waves of summer can put your body at risk. Each year, an average of 618 people nationwide die because of extreme heat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Normally, the body cools itself by sweating. But if you spend too much time in scorching heat and become dehydrated as well, you simply cannot sweat enough to cool off. Your body temperature rises, putting you on the brink of a heat-related illness.

This can happen to anyone, but those younger than 4 and older than 65, along with people who are overweight or sick, are most at risk. As the body temperature rises beyond the norm of 98.6 degrees, this can bring on muscle pain and spasms known as heat cramps, or lead to what’s called heat exhaustion: cramps accompanied by dizziness, nausea, headaches and more.

 Even worse is a heat stroke, which occurs if your body temperature reaches 104 degrees. Its effects can include confusion, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs, including the brain. Heat stroke can be life-threatening, too. For early symptoms of a heat-related illness, move into the shade and rest if no air-conditioned spot is available. Remove tight clothing. Sip cool water. For more-extreme symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Read the original article here. 

Testosterone Makes Men Want Luxury Brands and Status Goods, Study Finds

Are you a man with a sudden hankering for a sports car, a fancy house, or other status symbols? Blame testosterone, a new study says.

The research published in the journal Nature had an intriguing methodology. More than 240 participants were split into two groups — one was given single doses of a topical testosterone gel, while the other was given placebo. Four hours later, the study subjects were assigned a battery of behavioral tasks and surveys.

The results were striking.

“[W]e find that administering testosterone increases men’s preference for status brands, compared to brands of similar perceived quality but lower perceived status,” wrote the authors. “Furthermore, testosterone increases positive attitudes toward positional goods when they are described as status-enhancing, but not when they are described as power-enhancing or high in quality.”

What’s significant about the research is that it delves into the “biological roots of men’s preferences for status” over more practical considerations such as reliability. As the researchers note, the phenomenon of increased testosterone can accompany “contexts related to social rank and male reproductive behavior, e.g., during competitions and after winning them, in the presence of an attractive mate, and even following acts of conspicuous consumption, such as driving a sports car (vs. a family sedan).”

See the original study here.

What does a cortisol level test show?

A cortisol level test involves taking a small sample of blood to measure the level of cortisol in a person's body. Cortisol is a hormone that plays a vital role in the body's response to stress.

If the results of the test show that cortisol levels are outside the standard range, this can suggest a range of conditions, including Addison's disease and Cushing's syndrome.

The procedure is relatively simple and should not lead to any significant side effects.

Cortisol is a hormone that contributes to several bodily functions, including the fight or flight response to stress.

When a person believes that they are in danger, the brain releases an extremely powerful chemical called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).

This hormone triggers the adrenal gland, which is located just above the kidneys, to release cortisol.

The body uses cortisol to halt any non-essential physical processes. These include growth processes and reproductive and immune functions.

As non-essential functions shut down, the person will gain a burst of strength and energy to deal with the potential threat.

The release of cortisol may also cause emotional arousal, giving people strong emotions, such as anger and fear.

Cortisol also increases blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.

If a doctor orders a cortisol test, there is a strong likelihood that they are trying to diagnose a specific disorder.

The doctor will discuss the results of the test with the individual. If a cortisol level test reveals low or high levels of cortisol, a person is likely to need additional testing to confirm a diagnosis.

Most people do not experience any significant side effects from the test and can continue with their everyday activities.

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