Heat intolerance

Alternative names 
Sensitivity to heat; Intolerance to heat

Heat intolerance is the inability to be comfortable when external temperatures rise.

Heat intolerance often produces a feeling of being overheated and can produce heavy sweating. Heat intolerance usually comes on slowly and persists long-term.

Common Causes

  • Thyrotoxicosis (excess thyroid hormone, which increases the basal metabolic rate, causing body temperature to rise)  
  • Amphetamines such as appetite suppressants  
  • Caffeine  
  • Menopause

Home Care
Room temperature should be kept at a comfortable level. Drinking lots of fluids is recommended.

Call your health care provider if

Call your health care provider if there is persistent and unexplained heat intolerance.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting heat intolerance in detail may include:

  • Time pattern       o Have you had heat intolerance before?       o Have you always had difficulty tolerating heat?       o When did you begin to develop heat intolerance?  
  • Associated complaints       o Is it worse when you exercise?       o What other symptoms are present? Especially, is there:           + Fainting           + Vomiting           + Dizziness           + Palpitations           + Rapid pulse (heart rate)

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Blood studies  
  • Thyroid studies (TSH, T3, free T4)

After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to heat intolerance to your personal medical record.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.