A few years ago Tim and I were working out on a Saturday morning. We went our separate ways in the gym as we usually do. I was rowing along on the rowing machine when a friend approached with a dire look on her face. “Hi,” I said, “What’s up?” Well nothing was up, something – er, someone was down – my husband had passed out…twice.
Tim was suffering from a severe case of dehydration which entailed an ambulance ride to the hospital and a few hours receiving fluids intravenously. Due to recent airline travel and a lack of fluids on top of a hard workout, his body just gave in. And he was one of the lucky ones.
It’s not uncommon for people to pass out at the club if they aren’t properly hydrated – we know of several within our circle of friends. They were all just fine in the end – others are not so lucky.
With another friend experiencing this over the last few days, I thought it would be a good time to get the word out.
Here is a list, from Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com), of the possible side-effects of dehydration:
Dehydration can lead to serious complications, including:
- Heat injury. If you don’t drink enough fluids when you’re exercising vigorously and perspiring heavily, you may end up with a heat injury, ranging in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heat stroke.
- Swelling of the brain (cerebral edema). Sometimes, when you’re getting fluids again after being dehydrated, the body tries to pull too much water back into your cells. This can cause some cells to swell and rupture. The consequences are especially grave when brain cells are affected.
- Seizures. Electrolytes — such as potassium and sodium — help carry electrical signals from cell to cell. If your electrolytes are out of balance, the normal electrical messages can become mixed up, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and sometimes to a loss of consciousness.
- Low blood volume shock (hypovolemic shock). This is one of the most serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
- Kidney failure. This potentially life-threatening problem occurs when your kidneys are no longer able to remove excess fluids and waste from your blood.
- Coma and death. When not treated promptly and appropriately, severe dehydration can be fatal.
Those of you who’ve been through the recent heat wave in Minnesota and are planning a visit to the State Fair or other outdoor activities this weekend – TAKE WATER! LOTS OF IT! It’s an easy way to avoid a scary situation. Spread the word – Please! You just may save the life of someone you love.
P.S. I was told to drink 1/2 my weight in ounces of water per day. More if you’re doing an extreme workout or it’s really hot.