Archive | May, 2019

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

The Midlands is expected to experience triple digit temperatures this weekend! When temperatures are this high, the Lexington Medical Center Emergency department sees at least five people a day with heat-related illness.

In this WLTX news story, Dr. Daniel Avosso, medical director of the Lexington Medical Center ER, talks about heat exhaustion and heat stroke – and how to tell the difference.

The symptoms of heat-related illnesses have a broad spectrum. They can begin with muscle cramps or muscle spasms.

According to Dr. Avosso, patients with heat exhaustion have a core body temperature up to 104 degrees.

“They also may exhibit cardiovascular symptoms such as an increased heart rate or not being able to maintain their blood pressure,” Dr. Avosso said.

Heat stroke is more serious. It’s often defined by a change in behavior, confusion, unsteady gait or seizures. In this case, it’s important to cool the body very quickly. Heat stroke is most likely to affect people who are exerting themselves outside such as on the football field or in outside construction work.

It’s also important to know that some blood pressure medications and antihistamines can increase the risk of a heat-related illness. That’s because some of these medicines limit our ability to sweat – the body’s mechanism for cooling itself. Other risk factors include being sick, dehydrated or out of shape.

“Keep a close eye on children and the elderly during extreme heat. They may have a lowered sensitivity to thirst. And, in some cases, they may not be able to communicate they don’t feel well,” Dr. Avosso said.

If the person seems confused, if they’re sweating profusely, or if they’re not sweating at all, check their pulse and take their temperature. If those numbers are elevated, take them to a doctor right away.

Until the heatwave breaks, stay well hydrated with water and drinks that will replace electrolytes. Dr. Avosso recommends Pedialyte™, which he says offers more comprehensive electrolyte solution than sports drinks. And come inside to take breaks when possible.

Superfood of the Month: Spinach

Many cuisines, most notably Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian, use spinach because it’s inexpensive and easy to prepare. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 1/2 cup serving of spinach contains 28.1 micrograms of vitamin C, 34 percent of the daily recommendation.

Health Benefits
Diabetes Management
Contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity and prevents oxidative, stress-induced changes in those with diabetes.

Cancer Prevention
Effectively blocks the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines, which result from grilling food at high temperatures.

Asthma Prevention
Is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which may reduce the risk of developing asthma.

Blood Pressure
Has a high amount of potassium. Low potassium intake may be as significant a risk factor for developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.

Digestive Regularity
Is high in fiber and water to help prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.

Skin and Hair
Has a lot of vitamin A, which moderates the production of oil in skin pores and hair follicles and is necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues. It also helps build and maintain collagen. Iron-rich foods, such as spinach, may prevent hair loss.

Sautéed Spinach
Servings: 6
65 calories

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20 oz fresh spinach
1 T lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
2. Add spinach and toss to coat. Cover and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Note: The sturdy texture of mature spinach is best for cooked dishes. Serve tender, mild-flavored baby spinach raw or lightly wilted. Use baby or mature spinach in this recipe (10 oz trimmed mature spinach equal about 10 cups raw spinach; 10 oz baby spinach equals about 8 cups raw spinach). Remove tough stems from mature spinach before use.