Signs of Heat-related Illness & How Extreme Heat Disrupts Your Electrolyte Balance by 30Seconds Health
How hot is too hot? You might not realize it, but you have a maximum operating temperature. When you heat up, your body has ways to keep you at a temperature where your enzymes work optimally, says Dr. Jaiva Larsen, Banner University Medical Center Tucson emergency medicine physician and medical toxicology fellow. Enzymes are proteins that speed up specific chemical reactions in the body.
To help keep you cool, you begin to perspire and your blood vessels dilate. But if you begin to overheat, you can become dehydrated from all that sweating, or your electrolyte balance can be disrupted because you've taken in too much water and not enough salt. That, in turn, can lead to seizures and other serious problems, Dr. Larsen says. When it comes to heat-related illness, Dr. Larsen says she most often treats people who:
- have been exercising in the heat
- those who are in vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, the elderly and infants
- those on certain medications
- those who have been using street drugs or alcohol, both of which make them more vulnerable to heat-related illness
Signs of heat-related illness include:
- slurred speech
If these signs arise, it's important to seek medical attention quickly, Dr. Larsen says.