Three medical symptoms that could be mistaken for the effects of heat

GMB: Weather looks hot, humid but stormy over weekend

As temperatures climb in the summer months our bodies may react in certain ways as they adjust to the heat.

Warmer weather and more sun exposure can raise the risk of issues such as dehydration and headaches, for example.

However, the effects of the heat could be masking other underlying health issues.

Doctor Johannes Uys, GP at Broadgate General Practice in London, spoke exclusively with to explain more.

He shared three symptoms of medical issues that could be mistaken for the effects of hot weather.

READ MORE Met Office puts six regions on heat health alert as UK mercury to soar


The summer heat can leave many people feeling tired or weak, but persistent or excessive fatigue could be an underlying symptom of several different medical conditions including anaemia, thyroid disorders, and certain infections, said Dr Uys.

“If you find that you’re continuously fatigued, or the fatigue gets progressively more severe, you should consider seeking advice from a medical professional.

“The science – taking thyroid disorders as an example – in hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, which play a crucial role in regulating metabolism and energy production in the body.

“Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones.

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“While hyperthyroidism is commonly associated with symptoms like increased energy levels and restlessness, fatigue can still occur.”

Fatigue is also a common symptom among cancer patients.‌


Heat or sun exposure leave many people with headaches in hotter weather, but severe or recurrent headaches can also be associated with more serious ailments like sinusitis or high blood pressure, said Dr Uys.

“The science – taking a closer look at high blood pressure, increased pressure and stress on the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the brain, can lead to nasty headaches.

“Hot weather can increase blood pressure, too. The body responds to heat by dilating the blood vessels near the skin’s surface to release heat and cool down.

“As a result, blood flow to the skin increases, and blood vessels in other parts of the body may constrict slightly.”

‌Breathing difficulties

The hot, muggy air can make it slightly more difficult to breathe, but shortness of breath may also indicate underlying respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), said Dr Uys.

“If breathing difficulties are severe or persistent, medical attention is necessary.

“The science – COPD is often characterised by chronic inflammation of the airways – primarily caused by long-term exposure to irritants like cigarette smoke, air pollution, or occupational hazards.

“This inflammation leads to the narrowing and thickening of the airways, reducing their elasticity and obstructing the airflow, making breathing difficult.”

If you experience these symptoms and you don’t think they are due to the heat you should speak to your GP.

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