Heat stroke peril with hot-weather effort TO YOUR HEALTH


June 22, 1993|By Dr. Gabe Mirkin | Dr. Gabe Mirkin,Contributing Writer United Feature Syndicate

When you exercise, your body temperature rises because more than 70 percent of the energy that is used to drive your muscles is lost as heat. If your temperature rises too high, you can suffer from heat stroke and pass out.

Spring and early summer are the most common times for heat stroke to occur because your body loses some of its ability to dissipate heat during the winter.

In colder weather, your body has little trouble dissipating the extra heat. When warm weather arrives, it takes from four to 14 days of exercising in the heat to protect you fromhaving your temperature rise too high. Your body acclimatizes to the heat by enlarging the blood vessels and sweat glands in your skin. That allows your heart to pump more blood to your skin and enables your sweat glands to produce more sweat. When you exercise on the first few hot days, go a little slower and with a little less intensity. If you are going to exercise more than 20 minutes, drink fluids as frequently as you are able. Do not wait to feel thirsty; that is a late sign of dehydration.

Nobody passes out from heat stroke without warning. As your temperature rises, you will feel a terrible burning in your muscles. Then you will become very short of breath and the air you breathe will feel like it is coming out of a furnace. If you keep on pushing, you will develop blurred vision, a headache, ringing in your ears and dizziness, and then you will fall on the ground unconscious.

Dr. Mirkin is a practicing physician in Silver Spring specializing in sports medicine and nutrition.

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