How Our Bodies React to These Extreme Situations

Learn here how the human body reacts to different complex situations.
How Our Bodies React to These Extreme Situations
Diego Pereira

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Diego Pereira.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 17 March, 2023

When we are faced with extreme situations our bodies end up experiencing a series of sensations and automatic responses. If you ever wondered how our bodies react to extreme situations, then keep reading.

How do our bodies react to extreme situations?

Discover the most common reactions we experience when we find ourselves in extreme situations.

1. Gravity

The force of gravity exerts its effects on everyone. This force is equivalent to 1 g, but for example, if you’re an air force pilot, it can be between 8 and 10 g. What does this mean? It means that your body weight will vary.

And how does our body react to it? The impact of this force on our body depends on its direction. If the force of gravity acts from the head to the feet, the internal organs will move downwards within a certain time frame.

If it occurs from the feet to the head, the abdominal organs will exert pressure against the diaphragm and thus on the heart and lungs.

If the force is directed from the chest to the back or from left to right and vice versa, its impact on the body will be much less.

2. Changes in blood pressure

Blood pressure also varies in extreme situations. If you have low blood pressure, decompression syndrome can occur. This is also common in scuba divers, during a rapid ascent to the surface, for example.

This occurs because diluted gases in the blood can form bubbles, which tend to cause thrombi and destroy vascular walls.

Thus, if vascular occlusion is experienced, it could lead to a blockage of blood circulation, leading to death. In severe cases, the white matter of the spinal cord could also be damaged, which could lead to paralysis.

3. Carbon monoxide poisoning

If we suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning, our body will experience a series of reactions.

First, the carbon monoxide will quickly enter the blood and part of the hemoglobin will be transformed into carboxyhemoglobin. Thus, the erythrocytes won’t be able to transmit oxygen to the cells and tissues of the body. It should be noted that nerve cells depend on oxygen.

For this reason, such poisoning primarily affects the nervous system. This will cause headaches, nausea and incoordination.

4. Hypothermia

Woman with hypothermia.

When we expose our body to cold for a prolonged period of time, the body seeks to reduce heat loss. To do this, it resorts to the contraction of blood vessels.

This survival mechanism makes it possible to maintain a greater amount of warm blood, which is what the internal organs need for their proper functioning.

Prolonged exposure to cold causes changes in tissue cells. When this happens, it isn’t advisable to drink alcohol. If we do, it will expand blood vessels, which will lead to increased heat loss in the body.

5. Heat stroke

How does our body react to heat stroke? When our body suffers from heat stroke we suffer from overheating, not only of the skin, but also of the surface of the brain. This causes vasodilatation and can even lead to cerebral edema.

If the sunstroke is too strong and we lack oxygen, the neurons will die. This cannot happen in a solarium, because there we expose our body to UV rays that are unable to cause an increase in body temperature.

6. Hunger

If our body suffers from hunger, the body will start to reduce its blood glucose level. The body needs to maintain these levels and to achieve this it will start to use its reserves. These reserves are found in the form of glycogen in the liver and muscles.

A hungry woman.

When a body is hungry, the first thing that is affected is our own muscles. The reduction of adipose tissue will occur, if the body runs out of glucose reserves.

After this, the body will start to use up the protein reserve, which will lead to a weakening of the bones and teeth and even the immune system. If we suffer a protein deficit, we will suffer from the disease called Kwashiorkor. With it, our body will begin to swell and end up suffering from myocardial dystrophy.

Now that we know how our body reacts, protecting it is an obligation

Have we answered your questions about how our bodies react to extreme situations? We hope we have cleared everything up in this respect.

Always contact your doctor in the event of unusual or worrying symptoms!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.