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Environmental Physiology - The Limits of Human Performance

LWT 252

Environmental Physiology - The Limits of Human Performance

LWT 252

Course Description

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: BIO 101 or BIO 153 or BIO 241.

Emphasizes the physiological responses of the human body to acute and chronic bouts of varying environmental conditions. Presents the study of physiological responses to hot and cold environments, altitude, underwater and microgravity environments, and the effect of air quality on human performance. (30-15)

Outcomes and Objectives

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to hot and humid environments.

Objectives:

  • Explain behavioral temperature regulation and physiological temperature regulation.
  • Define core temperature and procedures to determine core temperature.
  • Describe impact of acute exposure to hot and humid environments on core temperature, metabolism, evaporative heat loss, skin circulation, electrolytes, cardiovascular parameters, hormonal response.
  • Define heat acclimation and acclimatization.
  • Describe the thermoregulatory changes that occur with chronic exposure to a hot and humid environment.
  • Describe the circulatory, endocrine, and metabolic changes that occur with chronic exposure to a hot and humid environment.
  • Define heat disorders.
  • Explain how to decrease a person's risk for heat disorders.
  • Describe treatment for heat disorders.
  • Explain how exercise is a form of heat acclimation.

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to cold environments.

Objectives:

  • Explain the metabolic and thermal adjustment to cold water submersion.
  • Explain the metabolic and thermal adjustments to cold air.
  • Describe sources of heat loss and heat gain in cold air.
  • Describe the role of body fat, body surface area, clothing, redistribution of blood flow, and non-exercise metabolism in cold air environments.
  • Explain the wind chill index.
  • List the metabolic, hypothermic, and insulative adaptations to chronic exposure to cold environments.
  • Explain the effects of cold acclimation on body fluid regulation and cardiorespiratory responses.
  • Discuss the effects of temperature, precipitation, and wind on cold injuries.
  • List variables that increase and decrease risk for cold injuries.
  • Provide examples of cold/wet injuries and cold/dry injuries.
  • Define hypothermia.
  • Describe the hypothermic effect on the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, central nervous system, and blood sugar.
  • Explain how to treat cold injuries.
  • Explain how to decrease a person's risk for cold injuries.

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to altitude.

Objectives:

  • Define hypoxia.
  • Explain Dalton's law of partial pressures and its relationship to altitude.
  • Explain the impact acute altitude exposure has on resting ventilation, gas exchange and transport, metabolism, cardiorespiratory exercise, and strength and endurance.
  • Explain the impact chronic altitude exposure has on ventilation, gas exchange, work capacity, oxygen transport and delivery, body composition, and metabolism.
  • Define problems associated with acute hypoxia (acute mountain sickness, high altitude cerebral edema, high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude retinal hemorrhages, disorders of coagulation).
  • Define problems associated with chronic hypoxia (reentry pulmonary edema, chronic mountain sickness).
  • Discuss problems that are not associated with hypoxia, but occur at high altitude (cold injuries, dehydration, solar radiation injuries, and nutrition).

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to an underwater environment.

Objectives:

  • Define hyperbaric.
  • Explain Dalton's law of partial pressures and its relationship to hyperbaric environments.
  • Explain Boyle's law and Charlie's law.
  • Describe pressure, alveolar gas exchange, cardiovascular responses, and acclimation to breath-holding divan.
  • Define the "diving response" physiologically.
  • Discuss the issues associated with deep and long dives (SCUBA diving), such as oxygen poisoning, inert gas necrosis, high pressure nervous syndrome, and decompression sickness.

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to an environment of microgravity.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the redistribution of body fluids, and its impact on plasma volume, stroke volume, cardiac output, and blood pressure.
  • Define orthostatic intolerance.
  • Define muscle atrophy and explain why it occurs in a microgravity environment.
  • Define osteoporosis and explain the acceleration of this process in a microgravity environment.
  • Explain the potential consequences of radiation exposure that occurs in space.
  • Discuss the motion sickness that most astronauts experience upon arrival in space.
  • Discuss the physiological problems that astronauts encounter upon returning to Earth.
  • Describe the countermeasures that are done while an astronaut is in orbit in an effort to help decrease the effects of microgravity on a person's physiology.

Describe the physiological response to both acute and chronic exposure to air of poor quality.

Objectives:

  • Identify the pollutants that impact human performance (carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ozone and primary particulates - dust, smoke and soot.
  • Discuss how each of the pollutants impact cardiovascular function, ventilation and blood chemistry.

Discuss the human impact on extreme environmental conditions.

Objectives:

  • Define sustainability.
  • Discuss the positive impact sustainable practices can have on various environmental conditions (air pollution, clean up on Everest, oceans).