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Shivering

Shivering

[shiv-er]
Shivering is a bodily function in response to early hypothermia in warm-blooded animals. When the core body temperature drops, the shivering reflex is triggered. Muscle groups around the vital organs begin to shake in small movements in an attempt to create warmth by expending energy. Shivering can also be a response to a fever as a person may feel cold, though their core temperature is already elevated.

Located in the dorsomedial portion of the hypothalamus near the wall of the third ventricle is an area called the primary motor center for shivering. This area is normally inhibited by signals from the heat center in the anterior hypothalamic-preoptic area but is excited by cold signals from the skin and spinal cord. Therefore, this center becomes activated when the body temperature falls even a fraction of a degree below a critical temperature level.

Increased muscular activity results in wasted heat - here the heat is utilized for warmth.

Shivering can also appear after surgery. This is known as post-surgical shivering.

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