[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When heat is applied to the skin, it is dissipated due to conductive heat flow in the tissue and the blood. While heat flow has been studied after applying a single heat exposure, the physiology of repeated exposures to local heat has not been well investigated.
Twenty male and female subjects in the age range of 20-65 years old participated in a series of experiments during which a thermode was placed on their leg above the quadriceps muscle for 20 minutes, and on 3 sequential days, to see the effect of repeated local heat on skin blood flow, skin temperature, and on caloric transfer from a thermode used to raise skin temperature.
The results of the experiment showed that, for young subjects, to raise skin temperature to 40 degrees C required more than double the calories required in older subjects. Further, in the younger subjects, the blood flow response in the first 20 minutes of heat exposure was over 30% higher than that seen in the older subjects. However, on the 2nd and 3rd day, the blood flow response of the younger subjects, was not significantly different between day 2 and 3, but was significantly less than day 1. There was no statistical difference in the blood flow response between day 1, 2 and 3 in the older subjects. In the younger subjects, in the 2 and 3rd day, the number of calories needed to warm the skin was also significantly less than that seen in the first day.
In younger subjects but not older subjects, there appears to be some degree of acclimatization with an enhanced blood flow response in the first day that was protective to the skin which was not seen in repeated heat exposure.
Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research 01/2011; 17(1):CR1-8. · 1.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous studies have examined the blood flow of the skin at rest and in response to sustained heat and shown that, in older people and people with diabetes, the skin blood flow response to heat is diminished compared to younger people. It is not sustained heat, however, that usually causes burns; it is a more rapid application of heat.
Ten younger subjects, 10 older subjects, and 10 subjects with diabetes were examined before and after applying a water-filled thermode to the skin above the quadriceps muscle to observe the changes in skin temperature and skin blood flow and the ability of the skin to absorb heat after a 2-min heat exposure with water at 44°C.
Skin temperature rose from 31.2°C at rest to 38.3°C after 2 min of heat application in all subjects (P > 0.05 between groups). The calories required in the younger group of subjects was 2.26 times the calories required in the older group of subjects for the same change in skin temperature and 13.8 times the calories needed to increase skin temperature in the subjects with diabetes. Furthermore, the blood flow at rest was lower in people with diabetes than older subjects and both groups less than that seen in younger subjects. The blood flow response to heat was slower in the subjects with diabetes compared to the older subjects and much slower than that seen in the younger subjects.
Reduced skin blood flow of older and subjects with diabetes, decreased thickness of the dermal layer, and increased subcutaneous fat, as well as damage to transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 receptors, may account for some of the differences between the groups.