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Thread: Summer Exhaustion and Food

  1. #1
    Senior Member dnvrdave's Avatar
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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.
    "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is."
    --Eckhart Tolle




  2. #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)

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

  4. #4
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    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
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  5. #5
    Senior Member dnvrdave's Avatar
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    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?
    "The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is."
    --Eckhart Tolle




  6. #6
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    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

  7. #7
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    Quote 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)^^

  8. #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)

  9. #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

  10. #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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