Was my Heat Exhaustion a result of being AT THAT AGE?
Before I share my recent experience with Heat Exhaustion, I’ve provided information about what this illness is. Heat Exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures and it often is accompanied by dehydration. It can be very serious, lead to Heat Stroke which can damage the brain and other vital organs as well as cause death.
My story: I was playing a tennis match recently that started at 5:00pm on a typical hot and humid Florida August day. My symptoms started at the beginning of the 2nd set of a tennis match I was playing which was about 45 minutes into the game.
I felt fine that day when we started the match and was well hydrated as I am most days. (I usually drink an average of 120 ounces of water each day. I also add electrolyte supplements to a portion of my water intake to replenish what I lose during the day. I will explain that later) Not only did I drink approximately 120 ounces in the hours before the match, I also drank a minimum of 90 ounces of water during the match. Do you think that’s enough water?
Before I move on, I want to address the looks on many of my friends faces who are reading this in disbelief that I drink so much water now. It wasn’t long ago that these wonderful, caring friends lovingly referred me to as a “Camel”. (Camels can go a long time without drinking water) I would workout and play sports in 90+, sometimes 100+, degree days with 90+ humidity for hours without drinking much water with no heat related issues. Guess what dear Friends? I have matured over the years. I hope you are proud… MWAH!
Back to my Heat Exhaustion story. My partner and I won the first set easily. I felt great and was having fun. We were about 3 games into the second set when I began having a hard time catching my breath. I also began to feel light-headed, dizzy and extremely thirsty. Chills began to set in a couple of games later. I continued to play and said nothing to my tennis partner, who just happens to be a NURSE, about how I was feeling. NOT SMART! I also didn’t say anything to my husband, Rich, who was watching me play for the first time ever. All I asked for was extra ice to put in a towel that I wrapped around my neck during breaks hoping it would give me relief.
I made it to the end of the 2nd set. By the way… WE WON! WOOHOO! Unfortunately, I was in rough shape. I asked Rich to sit with me for a few minutes so I could cool down before we went home. During the time we were sitting, I couldn’t cool down, catch my breath and the dizziness became worse. My husband helped me stand up after approximately 20 minutes had passed and we started to walk towards the car. My legs began to cramp with each step as I was leaning into him. It was at that point that I agreed to go to the hospital.
Things become a blur once we got to the hospital. An attendant met us at the car with a wheelchair. My husband definitely got me to the hospital in time. The worst of the Heat Exhaustion symptoms began to happen once we were there. I passed out a couple of times while in the wheel chair on the way to a room where I was put in a bed, hooked up to machines and an IV by a flurry of people tending to me. My heart rate and blood pressure were way too high. I couldn’t breath and the pain from the muscle cramps was unbearable. My hands and fingers cramped to the point they were clenched. Both my legs were cramping also. My left hamstring muscle cramped to the point where I could not straighten my leg.
Eventually all of my vitals were brought back to normal, the cramping subsided and I was able to sleep. It took several days for me to feel better and I’ve been told it could take a few more before I’m back to feeling 100% good. I must say that Heat Exhaustion is a top health scare of my life thus far. I truly thought I was having a stroke.
I’ve shared this experience with friends and family. What do you think the first comment was from the majority of them? It was….. “You have to be careful and make sure to drink plenty of water”. I think I would have floated away if I drank much more. A couple of people suggested I drank too much water. One is in the medical profession. Things that make you go HMMMMM. Did you know that you can actually over hydrate? This is called “Water Intoxication” and is also a dangerous condition and has many of the same symptoms of Heat Exhaustion. Both can happen to anyone at any age.
How does this relate to “UR @ that Age”? What do you think?
- Now back to my original question. Was my Heat Exhaustion a result of being AT THAT AGE? Possibly.
- A few people, after their assumption that I didn’t hydrate enough, said to me “you’re not as young as you used to be” or something similar. What do you think?
This is what I know:
- We need to drink water.
- Electrolytes, which are minerals, are present in our bodies and the balance of Electrolytes are necessary for normal function of our cells and organs. Why am I boring you with this detail? Because you need to replenish your body with more than just water when you do any type of exercise.
- If you exercise, most likely you sweat. If you sweat, your body is losing fluids that need to be replenished.
- Electrolytes are part of the fluids you lose during exercise. Your body needs them to be replenished which you can get through certain drinks and food.
- Do I think my age had anything to do with suffering from Heat Exhaustion when it’s never been a problem before? Possibly
- Do I think I properly hydrated before the tennis match that day? Definitely
- Did I ingest more than water to replenish electrolytes and energy? Yes
- Am I mad that I spent a night in the ER for Heat Exhaustion when I consider my self to be very healthy? YES (I know this has nothing to do with my topic today but just had to put it in there. Thanks for my minor vent session.)
I do believe that our bodies get used to our routine exercises, supplements, hydration, etc. I feel it’s a good idea to change things up with your workouts can improve the results you want. I’m also learning that changing things up with your nutrition and supplementation can benefit your energy levels, metabolism and recovery times.
Suffering from Heat Exhaustion was a wake up call for me. I don’t have to stop playing tennis in the heat because “I’m at that Age”. I do need to adjust what I ingest before, during and after any workout but especially for those I do outside in extreme temperatures and humidity.
My age may be a factor in what happened. I’m not suggesting that’s a bad thing. I’m still at that AGE where I can do just about anything I want to do. I/We just need to always listen to my/our body, tweak nutritional needs and workouts to continue with OUR Healthy & Happy Life.