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Old 9 July 2016, 12:10
ramzmedic ramzmedic is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Hastings, MN
Posts: 1,368
Heat exhaustion/heat stroke

I feel a little embarrassed even proposing this question and thread due to the fact that I am in the medical field. However, I have been experiencing this so much recently that it is actually starting to astound me. I am in very good shape, do not drink or do any drugs, don't smoke and work out fairly regularly. Actually, I work out more than I did when I was in the Army and in the Guard.

About 3 weeks ago I was out with my brother-in-law so to speak and we spent the entire day cutting down very large maple trees on his property. As usual I hydrated very well with water and Gatorade and even some Pedialyte. It was an unusually hot day up here in Minnesota so I knew to hydrate more than usual. After about 6 or 8 hours I finally went home and suddenly I became so exhausted I could not even move. I got into the shower and tried to wash off and cool off and I basically blacked out and fell into the tub. For about 30 minutes I could not focus and was basically unable to be coherent or even think. I had a massive headache and all the signs that night of heat exhaustion. They included sweating all night, heart rate around 150bpm low blood pressure, and a massive headache. I knew to stay in for a few days as I have taught and trained many others, and spent the next few doing nothing but hydrating with water and Pedialyte.

It happened again a few times but to a much lesser extent. Same symptoms but they came under control after sitting in the air conditioning and rehydrating all night. Then, this morning I woke up with the same massive heart rate and headache. The least little movement gives me major physical exhaustion.

Naturally I have looked over the internet, contacted friends who are also in the medical field, and read through many of my medical books. My concern is that like frostbite I am going to become more susceptible to this as I get older. Has anyone else experienced this in a long-term manner and what have you done specifically to help alleviate this issue? It just seems that all my training and experience has left me totally unqualified to deal with this on a personal level, where in the past I have been able to pass on my experience and training to others.

I do have a medical appointment next week to check into this. But I wanted to reach out to the folks on this site is I believe I have come to see that you have greater insight than most groups of people would have regardless of their professions. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 9 July 2016, 12:27
8654maine 8654maine is offline
Another pool cleaner
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Maine
Posts: 4,396
I'm glad you checked your HR.

Take the following with a grain of salt. It is by no means exhaustive:

You were tachycardic and hypotensive with symptoms. You likely did not have vasovagal syncope.

Most common cause, as you surmised, is orthostasis from dehydration.

Other causes of tachycardia:
(1) fever
(2) anemia
(3) electrolyte disturbance -- get K, Mg, Ca levels checked, ?renal failure
(4) endocrine disorder -- diabetes and hyperthyroidism
(5) hypoxia -- cough or shortness of breath recently?
(6) dysrhythmia -- simple as sinus tachycardia, need to r/o SVT, aflutter/fib
(7) cardiomyopathy -- including sleep apnea, valvular disease
(8) ischemia -- myocardial
(9) medication side effect -- there are many meds that could give you these symptoms.
(10) psychogenic -- ?

You know the common things. Talk to your doc about it. There are other less likely etiologies. Hoofbeats outside the window is likely to be a horse, not a unicorn.

Good luck.
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Old 9 July 2016, 23:26
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: oklahoma
Posts: 3,207
I've had HE twice. I'm very careful now.
To the extent," dear would you get the groceries out of the ". Ok that doesn't work. "I'm a wounded vet " umm doesn't work either.
Hope the Doc can find the trouble, maybe more than just simple HE?
Guy "Landmine"Melton
We all died a little in that war-Josey Wales

Last edited by CAP MARINE; 9 July 2016 at 23:28. Reason: N
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Old 9 July 2016, 23:32
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IronCross IronCross is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Dallas
Posts: 793
Never, not once thru 8 years in the mil did I ever become a heat casualty, saw plenty of others go down hard.

Since getting out I've had it happen once almost as badly as you describe, and it freaked me out a little. Definitely was dehydrated, got careless with my water intake/time outside.
But damn was it unpleasant and a bit spooky. Not used to feeling that way.
Keep your mouth shut and listen. That is the best piece of advice I have been given.
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Old 10 July 2016, 04:25
Gray Rhyno Gray Rhyno is offline
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Location: NoVa
Posts: 9,064
Sounds like you're lucky to be alive.
"The most HSLD stuff ever taught was the basics. So-called 'advanced training' is often no more than the very fluid and expert application of those basic skills." - SOTB
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Old 10 July 2016, 13:39
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Medic4070 Medic4070 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NoVA
Posts: 666
8654maine laid out the differential and I absolutely defer to him. However, for what it's worth, the scenario you described is exactly how my dad described his MI. Hot day, heavy yard work, sudden onset exhaustion, etc- but no chest pain or pressure. I would be careful with the heavy exertion and PT until you can get a solid exam from your doc and/or cardiologist.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmond Burke
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Old 10 July 2016, 13:50
ramzmedic ramzmedic is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Hastings, MN
Posts: 1,368
I've been using a water additive called Drip Drop. It is similar to Pedialyte with more electrolytes and other needed stuff. About $7 for a 10-pack box. Beats the hell out of Gatorade G2 or Powerade.
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