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Janet Rosen 06-15-2010 06:50 AM

Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
There is a very seasonally germane (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) article in the New York Times by their very good science/health writer Gina Kolata about new research on heat stroke. One issue is that nobody really knew about long term affects and when it is safe to return to exercising - kind of like where we were with concussion some years ago. One paragraph to pique your interest: "But autopsy studies and some MRI scans of people who had heatstroke indicate the hypothalamus is not damaged. Injured brain regions include the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex, which is why people pass out, Dr. Sawka said. He worries about lasting damage to the liver and kidneys. One study of distance runners who had heatstrokes and repeated liver biopsies indicated their livers were still recovering four months later. And a study by the Army's Research Institute for Environmental Medicine found that 30 years after soldiers had heatstroke they were at increased risk of death from liver failure and other organ damage."

Kevin Leavitt 06-15-2010 08:53 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
I've had heat stroke alot! it took me approximately 10 years to readjust and get over it. I still have to watch it very, very carefully as I am much more prone to it than before I got it.

Acclimating, fluids, and physical conditioning and understanding your body and how it feels and what it can take is key to preventing it.

I've seen one guy die, another suffer permanent brain damage, and have carried many off on litters to recieve emergency care!

It is nothing to play around with for sure! Thanks for the reminder Janet!

Adam Huss 06-15-2010 10:35 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Young people are especially bad about this. Too much energy drink, not enough water. I had a kid in one of my platoons heatstroke right next to me...it was pretty scary. Had to run, grab a trunk, and dunk him in an ice bath (they had ones standing by in the trucks) until the medics showed up.

Nafis Zahir 06-16-2010 01:06 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Not just water, but they need to stop drinking sodas and drinks like gatorade that have synthetic potassium in it. Look for all natural drinks like coconut water which has natural potassium in it and anywhere from 500 to 700 mg of potassium. Also, stop drinking cold fluids. They are more harmful to the body.

lbb 06-16-2010 07:52 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Nafis, what's the deal with synthetic potassium? What's different about it vs. natural forms?

C. David Henderson 06-16-2010 09:36 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
In 1983 I ran the Honolulu marathon. Temperature was in the 80's (F), it was humid, and the trade winds were not blowing. After around mile 20 I had to keep a sponge from an aid station ever-wet, because I had stopped sweating. (I won't go into the guy who did the race on crutches or the dude who passed me on his skateboard.)

At the finish, I went to the medical tent (a very warm canvas affair) for some asprin. As I sat on a cot, I looked over and startled -- a man's body was lying next to me, face covered. Turns out he stopped at McD's around mile 13, got something to eat, started running again, and died.

Heat. Got to learn to live with it.

Chuck Clark 06-16-2010 11:15 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
We came very close to having one of our visitors from CA being overcome with heat stroke this year at Shochugeiko in Tempe, AZ. It is very, very serious and takes a good bit of care to recover from heat stroke. It's not "rocket science" but the most dangerous thing is - we do not monitor ourselves well enough. It always seems like it's a problem for "the other person." NOPE. I know from personal, first hand experience. Shows how smart I am... it's happened to me twice! Take care... it's part of budo practice.

Best regards,

Basia Halliop 06-16-2010 01:13 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Look for all natural drinks like coconut water which has natural potassium in it and anywhere from 500 to 700 mg of potassium.
Potassium is an element, so I don't understand what you mean by 'synthetic' or 'natural' potassium... do you have more information on this? Although I'm with you on picking real foods rather than processed things that attempt to mimic what we need...

chillzATL 06-16-2010 01:30 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
In a couple of weeks I'll be in the mountains of South Carolina for seven days of 8+ hour per day training with no a/c. Yesterday the heat index there was 97. This is partcularly timely reminder!

lbb 06-16-2010 01:34 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Basia Halliop wrote: (Post 259335)
Potassium is an element, so I don't understand what you mean by 'synthetic' or 'natural' potassium... do you have more information on this? Although I'm with you on picking real foods rather than processed things that attempt to mimic what we need...

I'm guessing that's a reference to different molecular forms that contain potassium. Potassium is of course an element, but unless I completely misremember my chemistry, it's not going to be present in a food or drink in atomic or ionic form. Instead it will be present in a molecular form, i.e., potassium chloride, which is what is used in oral rehydration salts. Maybe there's a different naturally occurring form that is better somehow?

Kevin Leavitt 06-16-2010 05:36 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
don't know...but I am a fan of coconut water. natural, lot less calories and refined sugars for the amount of K+ you get in it!

Adam Huss 06-16-2010 08:35 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Thats odd you would bring that up....I just first heard of coconut water maybe a week or two ago from one of my friends. I guess I will have to pick some up now that I'm hearing about it from multiple sources.

dps 06-16-2010 10:34 PM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Potassium, awww bananas.

David

Nafis Zahir 06-17-2010 01:29 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 259293)
Nafis, what's the deal with synthetic potassium? What's different about it vs. natural forms?

Hi Mary. I found several articles on this. You can just google it if you want to. But synthetic potassium is potassium this is "created" to simulate real potassium. Sort of like beauty products that have synthetic Vitamin E in them. They can mimic the real thing, but they don't work as well and are not good for you. The potassium in bananas and things such as coconut water are naturally found in those foods and they are in their pure form. Your body really can't assimulate synthetic foods. But the body can absorb and utilize foods that are natural. Gatorade is full of synthetic stuff and sweetners.

Nafis Zahir 06-17-2010 02:38 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Basia Halliop wrote: (Post 259335)
Potassium is an element, so I don't understand what you mean by 'synthetic' or 'natural' potassium... do you have more information on this? Although I'm with you on picking real foods rather than processed things that attempt to mimic what we need...


See my post above.

lbb 06-17-2010 07:37 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Nafis Zahir wrote: (Post 259366)
Hi Mary. I found several articles on this. You can just google it if you want to. But synthetic potassium is potassium this is "created" to simulate real potassium. Sort of like beauty products that have synthetic Vitamin E in them. They can mimic the real thing, but they don't work as well and are not good for you. The potassium in bananas and things such as coconut water are naturally found in those foods and they are in their pure form. Your body really can't assimulate synthetic foods. But the body can absorb and utilize foods that are natural. Gatorade is full of synthetic stuff and sweetners.

Mmmm...that doesn't really agree with the science I know. Potassium is an element; in its atomic form, all potassium is identical (and, while there are industrial processes to isolate potassium, they do so from "natural sources", i.e., potash). Googling "potassium natural artificial" produced nothing to support the idea that the potassium found in, say, a banana is different than the potassium found in a sports drink or a supplement.

There is a good reason to seek out micronutrients in food sources, however, and that is to keep the diet focused on nutrient-rich food. Getting potassium from sources such as bananas or cherries, which contain other useful nutrition, is preferable to supplementing an empty-calorie diet (which is more likely to be a diet high in refined and processed foods) with potassium supplements or sugary sports drinks.

(Edit: I would also say that potassium from a sports drink is vastly preferable to heatstroke)

StevieT 06-17-2010 08:26 AM

Re: Health Alert: Heatstroke
 
Quote:

Nafis Zahir wrote: (Post 259366)
Hi Mary. I found several articles on this. You can just google it if you want to. But synthetic potassium is potassium this is "created" to simulate real potassium. Sort of like beauty products that have synthetic Vitamin E in them. They can mimic the real thing, but they don't work as well and are not good for you. The potassium in bananas and things such as coconut water are naturally found in those foods and they are in their pure form. Your body really can't assimulate synthetic foods. But the body can absorb and utilize foods that are natural. Gatorade is full of synthetic stuff and sweetners.

This is not true. The importance of potassium is as a blood electrolyte, where it exists as an atomic ion K+. There is no such thing as artificial potassium. Sports drinks supply your body directly with K+ ions (through some kind of dissolved salt) and your body absorbs them very readily. Bound potassium in natural foods will in fact be a whole lot harder to absorb and it'll take somewhat longer for them to enter your bloodstream. That's fine if it's what you want, but if you're severely dehydrated, it's definitely not what you want.

For rehydration you want something that is isotonic, which means that it contains electrolytes at or close the same concentration as your blood, which is essentially optimal for rehydration, since your body has to maintain its blood electrolyte concentration regardless of its water content. This is why giving people suffering from severe dehydration pure water is a bad idea: if their electrolytes are low, then the blood concentration becomes even lower due to introducing water and the body will immediately produce urine to get rid of the excess water and maintain the concentration. Producing urine in itself leeches further electrolytes from the blood and they actually end up even more dehydrated than before. Rehydration fluids should always be isotonic.

Some sports drinks contain electrolytes, but I doubt they're truly isotonic, since proper isotonic rehydration drinks taste pretty nasty. The artificial sweeteners are a separate issue. They are basically there to hide the nasty flavor of the electrolyte salts, since the drinks would be pretty unpalatable otherwise. Sports drinks are probably better than water for general hydration, but probably shouldn't be used for people who are truly dehydrated unless they really are isotonic.

In normal conditions, it's fine to remain hydrated through natural foods and pure water, since you basically dump an excess of everything into your body, and it'll then just get rid of the stuff it doesn't want. If somebody is suffering from dehydration, on the other hand, the artificial stuff will give them a significantly greater chance of survival.


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