Heatstroke can occur in these ways:

  • Exposure to a hot environment. In a type of heatstroke called nonexertional heatstroke, your condition is caused by a hot environment that leads to a rise in body temperature, without strenuous physical activity. This type of heatstroke typically occurs in hot, humid weather, especially for prolonged periods. It occurs most often in older adults and in people with chronic illness.
  • Strenuous activity. In a type of heatstroke called exertional heatstroke, your condition is caused by an increase in body temperature brought on by physical activity in hot weather. Anyone exercising or working in hot weather can get exertional heatstroke, but it's most likely to occur if you're not accustomed to high temperatures.

In either type of heatstroke, your condition can be brought on by:

  • Wearing excess clothing that prevents your sweat from evaporating easily and cooling your body
  • Drinking alcohol, which can affect your body's ability to regulate your temperature
  • Becoming dehydrated, because you're not drinking enough water to replenish fluids you lose through perspiration
Sep. 02, 2011