(redirected from calenture)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.


A condition of elevated body temperature.



the accumulation of excess heat in the body of humans or animals, with an elevation of body temperature, caused by external factors that hinder the transfer of heat to the external environment or increase heat intake from outside the body. Hyperthermia arises when there is maximum strain on the physiological mechanisms of thermoregulation (perspiration, dilation of cutaneous blood vessels, and so forth); if the causes are not removed, it progresses, ending with heat stroke at a body temperature of approximately 41°-42° C.

Hyperthermia is accompanied by an increase of metabolism and qualitative disturbances of it, loss of water and salts, and disruption of blood circulation and the delivery of oxygen to the brain, causing agitation and sometimes convulsions and fainting. High temperature during hyperthermia is tolerated less readily than it is in other feverish diseases. The development of hyperthermia is promoted by an increase in heat production (for example, during muscular work), disruption of thermoregulation mechanisms (with narcosis, drunkenness, and certain diseases), or age-related failure of these mechanisms (in very young children). Artificial hyperthermia is used in treating certain nervous and slowly progressing chronic diseases.


References in periodicals archive ?
It is said: the skepticism implicit in the dictionary entry reminds us that illnesses and symptoms are often socially constructed, and that, as the medical condition of nostalgia (literally, home-sickness) originated in the forced emigration of young Swiss men from a homeland unable to support them, so too the calenture was structured by the experience of countless sailors pressed into a service that removed them far from all that they valued and loved.
Beer connects this project to Coleridge's familiarity with the calenture, a fever besetting mariners, in Coleridge's Poetic Intelligence (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1977) 152.
Chapter 7, "The Calentures of Music," considers the sounds of foreign environments as a kind of music, exploring how the process of internalizing foreign environments might form part of a poetics of exile.