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    Summer Exhaustion and Food

    Every summer (hot day) when I haven't eaten in a while, a strange feeling of exhaustion comes over me. It is almost debilitating, and can be scary. I find that drinking more water doesn't really help, but eating something seems to relieve it right away. It doesn't have to be very warm for it to happen, but heat definitely aggravates it.

    I've checked my blood sugar during one of these fatigued moments, and it was fine. My blood tests look normal except for borderline protein (6.2), calcium (8.5), and HDL (33). It has been this way for years. I also have chronically low platelets (81), know as ITP (Thrombocytopenia).

    This phenomenon has been going on for about 10 years, happening more frequently each year (maybe once a week, last summer). I'm just wondering if other long-time quads have also experienced this, exhaustion connected to heat and hunger. I suspect that it is related to years of chronic overheating because we don't sweat. I might feel ok on a 85 deg F day (not feeling overheated), but something else is going on that causes an energy crash. Once the crash starts, cold air and drinking water don't help. But eating food (anything) helps immediately.
    "Cherish your tears. If you can cry, you still have some humanity left, and you are reclaiming more of it." -- David Kelly



    #2
    Severe fatigue, weakness and malaise are common signs of overheating and even impending heat stroke for people with SCI. I am not familiar with any relationship between overheating and food consumption though. Probably best to plan on eating something, even if you are not hungry, when you are anticipating the environment being too warm.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      #3
      Does this happen when you're outside, or anywhere during the summer?
      Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

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        #4
        I live in Las Vegas where it is hot most of the time but almost no humidity. The symptoms you describe I have had in the past, I drink lots of water, avoid the hot part of the day, stay in the shade when I am outside and so on. Some food does seam to help when the dizzy s happen and overheating can be a big problem but mine turned out to be low blood pressure. We finally figured it out after a few years and I take a medicine prescribed by my neurologist to raise my BP.

        My .02
        ^^(A)^^

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          #5
          Thanks for your comments. Sometimes I remember to keep food with me, but I also tend to not eat it in anticipation of fatigue when I'm hot, because eating seems to make me feel even hotter (overheat). The problem usually happens outside or when I was recently outside (getting hot), but the last time was Sunday at 12:30 pm at home (I had eaten at 10am and wasn't overly hot; I ate a couple bites and felt better immediately). I think checking my blood pressure is a great idea! I'll do that next time. Dehydration could also be part of it. I avoid salt because of swollen feet, but my sodium level looks high enough (139); can it fluctuate much?
          "Cherish your tears. If you can cry, you still have some humanity left, and you are reclaiming more of it." -- David Kelly


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            #6
            Yea, it sounds like overheating to me. What about a spray bottle? Spraying cold water seems to be very helpful for me.

            And what about you blood sugar? To me, though I'm no doc, the symptoms sound almost diabetes like. I'm sure our trust nurses here can chime in.

            Good luck to you.
            Rollin' since '89. Complete C8

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              #7
              Originally posted by Crappler View Post
              Yea, it sounds like overheating to me. What about a spray bottle? Spraying cold water seems to be very helpful for me.

              And what about you blood sugar? To me, though I'm no doc, the symptoms sound almost diabetes like. I'm sure our trust nurses here can chime in.

              Good luck to you.
              The spray bottle or a damp cloth is a great idea I use them both. I also thought my symptoms were like diabetes or low blood sugar but many tests showed I have neither. They are good things to check out but mine was low blood pressure. I can still get overheated living here in the desert but after 13 years here it rarely happens to me any more.
              ^^(A)^^

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                #8
                You can also wet a t-shirt and wear that (replenish the water if it dries), use a portable mister like MistyMate, and wear a cooling vest (either phase-change or blue ice pocket). People with SCI have a hard time sweating due to temperature, so you need to replace the sweat with "artificial sweat" by dampening your skin to allow evaporative cooling to help. Get a fan onto the damp skin to aid in evaporation and to help convective cooling too.

                (KLD)
                The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                  #9
                  Wow, my PT is very right. I thought I was weird. He said things are normal in my situation but I have been overwhelmed lately. I used to be a champion sweat(er) but no now. I overheat very easily. Hot and humid and my body loses function and it becomes hard to breathe, my vision is blurred more.

                  My body gets exhausted easily. When what I call an attack of lead-weighted exhaustion. I am basically bed ridden.

                  Strange thing is I eat a lot of hamburgers. They seem to provide some sort of energy. unrelated to overheating but nothing else like it. I tried other things. I have come to the conclusion it must be the combination of fat and protein maybe. It is like my body craves it. and eats it until it is satisfied. periodically the same thing happens with salt. not as often but when it happens I dump salt in my hand and just eat it. I drink the pickle juice. lol. my mouth, my stomach can burn but my body says keep eating. until again it is satisfied. and then I don't eat it until the next time it starts craving.

                  When this is happening, my body begins to feel better.

                  In the lead-weighted exhaustion, rest is the only real thing I have. keeping cool.

                  I know it is not exactly the same thing but I can relate. I have put ice packs and sat with the airconditioner and drank very cold beverages for overheating. We are looking at a phase core. SCI-Nurse, I am glad you said something because my husband was unsure if it would actually help me.

                  I do not go out in the heat of the day, and my husband and friends will say, "oh Connie, it is too humid. or they tell me, so I can plan and decide when it is okay.

                  I bring icepack with me where ever I go. I do what I can not to over heat. Friends or my husband get the air and cool the car before I load up. etc.

                  Good luck I hope you figure it out.

                  Thank you all for sharing. It does help to feel like I am not alone in things that happen in my body and I don't really understand.

                  C
                  Non-traumatic SCI. Art, Poetry, and the Great Outdoors; these are my passions. My motto: Paint much love, always ~ Connie

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                    #10
                    Yes, good to check BP. Also, just wanted to mention it might be good to occasionally check your oxygen level using an inexpensive pulse/oxymeter, that slips on a fingertip. Or, have doctor check it to see if you are maintaining oxygenation in the 90's. My lungs are fine, but my Polio paralysis has caused breathing issues in my senior years due to muscle fatigue.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by cklovesflowers View Post
                      My body gets exhausted easily. When what I call an attack of lead-weighted exhaustion. Strange thing is I eat a lot of hamburgers. They seem to provide some sort of energy. unrelated to overheating but nothing else like it. I tried other things. I have come to the conclusion it must be the combination of fat and protein maybe. It is like my body craves it. and eats it until it is satisfied.
                      "Lead weighted exhaustion" is a perfect description of what I feel. And I too have noticed that eating a hamburger helps right away. I have driven through Burger King when the exhaustion suddenly hit me. Not safe to drive so exhausted anyway.

                      Originally posted by triumph View Post
                      Yes, good to check BP. Also, just wanted to mention it might be good to occasionally check your oxygen level using an inexpensive pulse/oxymeter, that slips on a fingertip.
                      Another great idea! I just ordered a $17 pulse-ox. Amazon has many brands that are all inexpensive and highly rated. It really feels like I'm not getting enough oxygen when the weak feeling hits (but trying to hyperventilate never helped), so I'll check my blood oxygen. It actually seems more likely than low BP.
                      "Cherish your tears. If you can cry, you still have some humanity left, and you are reclaiming more of it." -- David Kelly


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                        #12
                        Let us know what you discover with the pulse ox.
                        ckf
                        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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                          #13
                          I'm curious myself. I've been getting light headed lately and I'm to see my family doctor Friday.
                          John-B

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                            #14
                            I call it over heating.

                            I go through the same symptoms as dnvrdave first mentioned. I am glad you brought this topic up and others write in on what they do? I call it more of over heating. I am hot and need to cool down. Sometimes I feel zapped of energy. What I do is have a cold wet hand towel around my neck while I am working at home or my other house that I am going to put up for sale shortly.

                            My rule of thumb is to stay out of direct sun light and my dermatologist gave me the right-act about protecting your skin in sun light. So I always wear a long sleeve cotton shirt. I call it my driving shirt. It could be 93 degree outside and I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt when I have to drive somewhere. I also am drinking a lot of ice or cold diet Pepsi. Usually working at either house I am shirtless with a wet towel around my neck.

                            I always carry a mercury thermometer with me at all times in a protective case (These are very hard to find.). When I over heat I check my temperature and it could be 99-101 degrees.

                            I notice I over heat more when the temperature is more at 82 degrees and the humidity is 45% or higher. It could be 91 degrees and humidity 25% and I am fine.

                            What I do when I over heat and feel weak? I have a Waring blender with a stainless steel 32oz carafe. I fill it 4/5ths with crushed ice, add 0% milk, add a scoop of protein mix, a scoop of Thick-it and two raw eggs and blend it for about 40 seconds. I now have about 30 oz of shush protein shake with a lot of cold energy that I swallow down. Once down, you have 30 oz of 32 degree cold energy to dissipate throughout your body. This will cool me down quickly, about 3-5 minutes. I feel much better.

                            Sometimes putting my head under the tap and let cold water drain over my head wetting my hair helps too. If I ever need to cool down immediately, I get undressed and take a cold shower until I feel better.

                            Once in a while I over heat, I become weak, down cold protein mix then I become very tired. I go lay down to rest and I fall into a deep R-E-M sleep for about an hour. I wake up feeling totally energized. Weird, but that what happens.

                            Other members? When you feel exhausted take your temperature and see what it is.

                            SCI-Nurse? What happens to the body when it over heats?

                            Ti
                            "We must overcome difficulties rather than being overcome by difficulties."

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                              #15
                              My blood work came back saying everything is normal. Now to figure out why I get light headed.
                              John-B

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