Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.
a state characterized by a lowered level of the functioning of organs, systems, and the body as a whole because of prolonged excessive activity, continuous exposure to powerful stimuli, and certain diseases. The performance of any function is accompanied by intensified decomposition of adenosine triphosphoric acid (ATP) through the utilization of energy accumulated in its terminal phosphate bonds. When ATP formation chronically lags behind its consumption, a precondition for exhaustion is created. The functional elements of organs and systems wear out as they work. The restoration of worn-out structures (functional, energy-forming, and so forth) is based on the synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. Exhaustion also results if these substances are not synthesized in adequate quantities. The processes of energy formation and protein synthesis are interrelated. The impairment of either may complicate the action of the other and intensify the exhaustion.
Exhaustion may result from extreme fatigue, or slight fatigue after improper or insufficient nutrition, after prolonged exposure to high or low temperatures, after diseases caused by metabolic disorders, and after severe blood losses and injuries. Treatment consists in removing the main causes.