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Sports Med. 2019 Mar;49(3):365-370. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01067-z.

Is Heat Intolerance State or Trait?

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College of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, 1-1-1 Noji-higashi, Kusatsu, Shiga, 525-8577, Japan.
Korey Stringer Institute, Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.


The existing literature suggests two standpoints in defining heat intolerance, which are heat tolerance as state or trait. The former bases its case in the plasticity of human physiology, where one may gain or lose the adaptations associated with heat acclimatization and the ability to tolerate heat is considered transient. This phenomenon is exemplified in the recovery process of exertional heat stroke (EHS) patients in that victims of EHS are able to eventually regain heat tolerance and return to activity without recurrent episodes of EHS. On the other hand, an increasing number of reports imply that genetic predisposition may be associated with one's vulnerability to heat stress. Individuals who seem to exhibit lower than expected exercise tolerance in moderate heat and those who never regain heat tolerance post EHS fall into this category. However, there is a large area of uncertainty in this debate because a true prospective investigation of factors associated with heat intolerance is methodologically difficult. We conclude from the current literature that both mechanisms of heat intolerance (state and trait) should be considered in interpreting the mechanism and cause of heat intolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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