Anatomy Of A Hot Flash

Here’s the biological wiring that switches on the sudden sweats.

By Sharon Kay

Here’s The Breakdown of Your Hot Flashes

 

#1

Portions of the brain, which control body temperature, react to dips in the blood level of hormones.

#2

The brain’s insular cortex, which controls perceptions of heat, cold, pain and pleasure, turns on.

#3

About 20 minutes before a full blown hot flash, your core body temperature begins to rise.

#4

About 10 minutes before a flash, skin temperature rises. Vessels dilate and blood flow increases to prepare the body to get rid of the extra heat.

#5

An aura—dizziness, a racing heart and a sense of anxiety or unease—may also precede a flash.

#6

You feel hot, sometimes intensely, mostly on the upper third of your body.

#7

Sweat glands prepare to start pumping out perspiration.

#8

Blood rushes to skin across your chest, neck and face, causing flushing.

#9

You begin to sweat, mostly on the upper part of your body.

#10

Peripheral blood vessels, in your arms, torso, legs and face, fully dilate, and heat shoots out.

#11

Total time of thermal chaos: under five minutes. Flashes are most common in the morning and evening, according to researcher Robert Freeman of Wayne State University.

Originally published in More magazine, December 2005 / January 2006.

First Published Mon, 2009-04-06 17:34

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/health/perimenopause-menopause/anatomy-hot-flash