Does hot weather have a negative effect on one’s health?Dr. Veita Bland / June 8, 2018
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A lot of people, not being cold weather fans, are most happy to see the return of warm weather. You get to peel off those heavy layers of clothes. You get to turn off the heat. You get to enjoy those longer hours of sunlight and the mood elevation that most people enjoy.
With this warm weather comes a different set of responsibilities. Each season has its requirements for optimum health. There are several but today let us concentrate on just one.
In a recent study, researchers studied how men handled the heat. There have been several studies conducted similar to this one but let’s concentrate on men in their 50’s and 60’s.
The study looked at this group of men. They were not sedentary but rather participated in aerobic exercise two to three times a week. They thus had some body conditioning. They then participated in research that was done in a room heated to 104 degrees F. The study participants performed exercises and then simulated seven and half hours of a work day done under those conditions.
During the first day of work, these men freely sweated and were able to lose their body heat. On the second day of the study, participants did not sweat as freely and were not able to release their body heat. The researchers concluded that the participants’ failed mechanism of not releasing their body heat would result in an increased chance of developing heat stroke.
They determined that this was due to the participants’ lack of fluid intake. On the first day of the research study, participants were well hydrated. They then performed work in the simulated warm outside environment.
The researchers emphasized the importance of making sure people drink fluids before, during and after a warm weather activity. The dehydration that results from one’s failure to replace fluids was responsible for an increase in sun stroke cases. This may mimic what is done with weekend yard work.
There is always some confusion when we start trying to make sure that enough fluids are being consumed. This is because a 120 lb. woman will have a different requirement than a 200lb. man. One formula is to multiply your weight by two-thirds to get a baseline of the number of ounces of water needed a day. That number is then increased by the amount of exercise one does and how physically active one may be. These numbers are only estimates and they are also altered by what one’s health concerns are and the medications one may be taking. If a person has health issues, their concerns should be addressed with their health care provider.
Respect the summer months and the fact that it is important to consume plenty of fluids. Make sure that if it has been a very hot day to consume additional fluids. Watch your consumption of alcoholic drinks. They may not hydrate in the same manner as good ’ole water. Be cognizant of the added calories that juices and sodas bring. Listen to your body and drink fluids when it calls for them. Be aware and know when to increase your fluid intake.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.