Frostbite

Definition

Frostbite is damage to skin and tissues from prolonged exposure to below-freezing temperatures. Frostbite severity is based on the depth of tissue injury. The most severe frostbite can lead to permanent damage and/or amputation.The most common parts of the body to become frostbitten include your fingers, toes, ears, nose, chin, or cheeks.
Frostbitten Skin
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Exposure to below-freezing temperatures can cause the body tissue to freeze. Ice crystals form within the frozen body part. Blood cannot flow through the frozen tissue. This causes the frozen tissue to be deprived of blood and oxygen. The combination of freezing and oxygen deprivation causes tissue damage or tissue death. Rewarming may also ultimately lead to tissue death.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of frostbite include:
  • Exposure to below-freezing temperatures without adequate covering
  • Low body temperature—hypothermia
  • Being very young or very old
  • Homelessness
  • Fatigue
  • History of previous cold weather injury
  • High-altitude cold exposure
  • Working in below-freezing conditions
  • Participating in winter sports or high-altitude sports
  • Wearing wet clothing
  • Suffering from a condition that affects your mental status such as:
  • Inability to move
  • Using drugs that cause your blood vessels to become constricted
  • Medical conditions, such as:
    • Malnutrition
    • Thyroid problems
    • Infection
    • Disease of the blood vessels
    • Arthritis
    • Diabetes
    • Raynaud's phenomenon

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Parent-Adolescent Communication May Result In Safer Sex
December 2015

Improving parent-adolescent sexual communication has been noted as one factor that could help to encourage adolescents to practice safer sex behavior. This study found that sexual communication with parents plays a small protective role in safer sex behavior among adolescents.

dot separator
previous editions

Celiac Disease May Increase the Risk of Bone Fractures
November 2015

Music May Improve Sleep Quality in Adults with Insomnia
October 2015

CPAP May Help Older Adults with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
September 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook