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Got Severely Dehydrated

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Got Severely Dehydrated

Old 07-31-10, 11:46 AM
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Got Severely Dehydrated

Last Saturday, July 24th I participated in my first century ride in Boulder, CO. The ride is called the Boulder Sunrise Century and encompasses about a 7700 ft. elevation gain. Prior to this ride I was training like mad out in Omaha, NE - where I'm currently living and have lived for 5 years. Prior to my 5 years in Omaha, NE, I was a native to Colorado and attended to the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The century ride went really well. On the day of the ride a minor cold front passed through, dropping temperatures into the mid 60's, lower 70's in the morning with a nice layer of clouds. My ride time was 6 hours, 3 minutes, with an average speed of 16.8 mph. I was very pleased with my results.

I then spent Saturday, July 24th - Wednesday July 28th resting and relaxing in Colorado until I returned to Omaha, NE on Thursday, July 29th.

So, without being on my bike for week, I was itching to get a ride in. Decide to go for a ride this morning at around 900. Weather report for Omaha at 900 was 79 degrees, 88% humidity, and 75 degree dew point. Well, about 15 miles into my ride, with a ride time of 44 minutes I decided to take a break. Got off the break in a shaded area and downed some electrolyte water. Then about 1-2 minutes I started to get really lightheaded, dizzy, and my vision started to blur. I then quickly drank some more electrolyte water. At this point, I was calling my wife to come get me ASAP. Then about 5 minutes into the break and a bottle of electrolyte water in my system, I completely lost my vision. As I was standing there, my eyes were open, but all I could see was black – very weird. So, at this point I started drinking my second bottle of electrolyte water. Soon enough I regained my vision, but now I started sweating profusely. I mean within 2-5 minutes my sleeveless Nike DriFit and bike shorts were soaking wet! As I drank more I started to feel better until my wife arrived about 20 minutes after all of this started. Thank god I brought my cell phone and 2 bottles of electrolyte water.

So, I think lesson learned here is when returning to a severely humid environment after spending a week in a dry environment, give your body more than 1 day – maybe 1 week to acclimate to the humid environment before partaking in exerting outdoor activity.

Anyone else ever have an experience like this before?

-Alex
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Old 07-31-10, 11:58 AM
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Did you drink at all over the 15 miles or not until you stopped for your break?
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Old 07-31-10, 12:03 PM
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Wow, that's scary. Glad you are ok. You must have been dehydrated prior to the ride, huh?
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Old 07-31-10, 12:06 PM
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I don't think you were all that dehydrated.
I have read that heat stroke can cause cortical blindness but this has to do with the temp of your brain and nothing to do with your eyes. But this type of damage is left in the brain.
You can go blind from severe dehydration but you would never sweat like you did as it takes a long time to bring your levels back to normal.
As an R.N, I would get some blood work done and go see my doc about this. Are you diabetic?
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Old 07-31-10, 12:30 PM
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Hey, another Buff!

Sounds more like a drop in BP to me, which can lead to dizziness and loss of vision. Can be due to a lot of factors, but sounds like something along the lines of heat syncope to me. With true heat stroke, you wouldn't be sweating. You'd also not recover without some resuscitation measures, like being iced down or sprayed with cold water.

79 isn't all that hot, but 88% humidity is really high. Sweating doesn't work that well, and getting off the bike actually removes the strong cooling force of the air you're moving through. You don't mention whether you felt overheated. Why did you decide to take a break after only 45 min on the bike?

Last edited by tadawdy; 07-31-10 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ricohman
I don't think you were all that dehydrated.
I have read that heat stroke can cause cortical blindness but this has to do with the temp of your brain and nothing to do with your eyes. But this type of damage is left in the brain.
You can go blind from severe dehydration but you would never sweat like you did as it takes a long time to bring your levels back to normal.
As an R.N, I would get some blood work done and go see my doc about this. Are you diabetic?
First, I was drinking water during the ride. Next, I'm not a diabetic.

Do you think this has anything to do with me being in Colorado for a week where it's dry then coming back to Nebraska where it's hot and humid as hell and not giving enough time to acclimate?

Also, before this happened I did a metric century here in Nebraska when the temperature was 91, felt like 102, 60% humidity, 75 degree dew point. That day was far worst than today and I pulled through it with no problems...
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Old 07-31-10, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mrrab
So, I think lesson learned here is when returning to a severely humid environment after spending a week in a dry environment, give your body more than 1 day – maybe 1 week to acclimate to the humid environment before partaking in exerting outdoor activity.
Unless you had prune skin throughout your entire body, seems unlikely. Did you weigh yourself?
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Old 07-31-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tadawdy
79 isn't all that hot, but 88% humidity is really high. Sweating doesn't work that well, and getting off the bike actually removes the strong cooling force of the air you're moving through. You don't mention whether you felt overheated. Why did you decide to take a break after only 45 min on the bike?
What's BP?

During the ride I felt fine with the exception of getting use to the humidity. Got to tell you riding in no humidity is a lot easier than riding in humidity.

Regarding the break after 45 minutes. I was going to take a light break 2-5 minutes just to recover and get some more fluids in me. And I guess I felt more exerted and tired. Probably due to not riding in a week. And never really felt overheated.

Also, I should mention that I did my century on Saturday, then on Sunday I did a somewhat intense hike with my brother. Monday-Thursday my legs were incredible sore. The soreness subsided by Friday though.
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Old 07-31-10, 12:52 PM
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Blood pressure.
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Old 07-31-10, 01:00 PM
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Too many possibilities, the least of which would be dehydration given what you have said so far.

You don't mention what you ate before and during the ride, nor what kind of "electrolyte water" you used. My internet MD degree says you might have had a blood sugar problem (as in severe drop), or the aforementioned blood pressure issue- even possibly related to a form of hyponatremia if you over-hydrated. This might be even more likely if you were using these "vitamin water" products, which have no meaningful amounts of electrolytes, and are just more water.

Perhaps a migraine episode?

You wouldn't have been out late and/or drinking alot the night before would you?
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Old 07-31-10, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DScott
Too many possibilities, the least of which would be dehydration given what you have said so far.

You don't mention what you ate before and during the ride, nor what kind of "electrolyte water" you used. My internet MD degree says you might have had a blood sugar problem (as in severe drop), or the aforementioned blood pressure issue- even possibly related to a form of hyponatremia if you over-hydrated. This might be even more likely if you were using these "vitamin water" products, which have no meaningful amounts of electrolytes, and are just more water.

Perhaps a migraine episode?

You wouldn't have been out late and/or drinking alot the night before would you?
Before the ride I ate whole grain oatmeal with a good portion of honey drizzled on top and half of a left over ham sandwich. The electrolyte water I used for the first time was Hammer Nutrition HEED (High Energy Electrolyte Drink). Don't know if I'm a fan of the stuff. While I was drinking it during the ride didn't feel like it was settling in my stomach too well. Used Cytomax on the Century ride and that stuff rocked!

No prior episodes with headaches or migraines. Didn't even feel as though I had a headache.

And no, I wasn't out drinking the night before. Actually around 400 pm yesterday I did have a 12 oz. beer that gave me more of a buzz that I wasn't expecting.
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Old 07-31-10, 01:40 PM
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I would go see your doc. You may have a BP issue or even some kind of heart block or arrhythmia that only a EKG will point out.
From here it doesn't sound like heat stroke or dehydration but only a real examination is going to tell you whats up.
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Old 07-31-10, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ricohman
I would go see your doc. You may have a BP issue or even some kind of heart block or arrhythmia that only a EKG will point out.
From here it doesn't sound like heat stroke or dehydration but only a real examination is going to tell you whats up.
Hmm interesting. Thanks for the medical advice. I'd be damn surprised if I have a BP issue, heart block or arrhythmia. I've been healthy all my life, have never smoked a cigarette, never have drank in excess, eat extremely healthy (very little processed foods) lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean meat. I'm 6'1" and around 190 and muscular...(go to the gym twice a week).

Also, I'm 29 and have never had any health issues.

Last edited by mrrab; 07-31-10 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 07-31-10, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mrrab
Him interesting. Thanks for the medical advice. I'd be damn surprised if I have a BP issue, heart block or arrhythmia. I've been healthy all my life, have never smoked a cigarette, never have drank in excess, eat extremely healthy (very little processed foods) lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean meat. I'm 6'1" and around 190 and muscular...(go to the gym twice a week).
If you are having some kind of syncope, whether its cardiac ,vasovagal or from low bp it doesn't matter if your the fittest man in the world or eat the best foods all the time.
You have the symptoms, I'm just suggesting you seek some medical advice since this has happened to you more than once.
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Old 07-31-10, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ricohman
If you are having some kind of syncope, whether its cardiac ,vasovagal or from low bp it doesn't matter if your the fittest man in the world or eat the best foods all the time.
You have the symptoms, I'm just suggesting you seek some medical advice since this has happened to you more than once.
No, no, no, this is the very first time this has ever happen to me. I never experience anything like this in the past with the exception of today.
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Old 07-31-10, 02:44 PM
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I had something similar last year, except everything went sepia-tone instead of black.

Had dehydration, which caused very low bp. Passed out on the side of the road. I was administered saline IVs in the ER, along with potassium. EKGs were normal. Haven't had similar problems since.

I'm now more careful about staying hydrated in the days leading up to hard rides, plus no more beer the day/night before.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:00 PM
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HEED is good stuff. Glad to hear it's not that dumb vitamin water stuff. You 're doing all the right things, and your good health practices are terrific, but don't make you immune to all possible problems. In fact, being in great cardiovascular shape often results in such low resting HR that you can have episodes of orthostatic hypotension, leading to dizziness or even fainting.

I think what everyone is trying to tell you is that this isn't a "normal" cycling-related event, especially that it certainly does't sound like a hydration (or nutrition) issue, and that when you get all neuro-vascular like that, you might want to look into it a little further.

If it were me, I'd at least be *curious* why I went blind, even if I believed it will never happen again.

Good luck, and it'd be great if you could let us know how it goes.

Last edited by DScott; 07-31-10 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mrrab
No, no, no, this is the very first time this has ever happen to me. I never experience anything like this in the past with the exception of today.
And that is why you need to see a doctor.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai
And that is why you need to see a doctor.

+1

My sister is a MICA (mobile intensive care) Paramedic and she sees lots of fit guys (non-smokers, non/social drinkers, not overweight etc) between the ages of 30-45 who have heart attacks and die. Right then, right there, right on the ground surrounded by surprised family/friends/co-workers who all gasp "but he was so fit", "he never smoked" blah blah blah.

People who don't look after themselves and have blocked arteries etc actually have a greater survival rate from first time heart attacks. Why? Because there system is so gunked up and inefficient, they develop secondary capacity - other small blood vessels around the heart actually enlarge to carry some of the load that the proper pathways can't handle. So, when things go wrong they have diversions and back roads for the blood, or at least enough of it to help them survive. My dad was a life long smoker, moderate-heavy drinker and didn't do any fitness work in my living memory AND he survived a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery at age 69.

A healthy person does not have this. Something goes wrong and you are effed.

Healthy people with no problems also don't get the type of check ups that find small problems. There is nothing wrong with you, so why get an angiogram?



Go to the doc, get a full heart work up - or at the very least discuss this incident.
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Old 08-01-10, 09:54 AM
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Went out for a ride this morning at around 700. Temperature was around 75-80, humidity was around 60%-65%, dew point around 65-75 degrees.

Told my wife that I wanted to go out for 16 miles then come home. Overall distance would have been 32 miles at around 1 hour, 40 minutes, but she was worried so I just did 20 miles.

So, I rode for 30 minutes or 10 miles then took a break and this time I cooled down. I didn't just stop like I did yesterday. Felt fine when I took the break, wasn't getting any dizzy spells or losing my sight. Drank lots of Hammer Heed water in addition to regular water. After 5 minutes, left and head on home feeling really good.

Overall ride time was 1 hour, 3 minutes for 20.5 miles.

Regardless, I think I'll go see the doctor for a physical. I can't remember the last time I saw a doctor for just a regular physical. I'll tell the doctor what happen and see what she has to say about it.

Update...

A gal in the Nutrition & Training forum posted the following...

Originally Posted by Machka

Also, here's a question no one seems to have asked ... were you riding really hard, with a high heart rate, when you decided to pull over and take a break?

If so, read the bit about "Why Cool Down"
https://www.mydr.com.au/sports-fitnes...n-for-exercise

And this ...
https://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/...es.asp?id=1037
Think this may have been my problem.

Last edited by mrrab; 08-01-10 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 08-04-10, 05:08 PM
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Went to the doctor today to have a physical and EKG performed. EKG returned normal heart beat and need to wait until this Saturday to have blood work performed. Primary doctor and another doctor thinks it was heat exhaustion and that I should have eased into biking in a humid environment having just returned from a dry environment. My intuition was right, but I'm still glad I went to the doctor.

Also, while I was there they had this machine called the InBody 520 (https://www.biospaceamerica.com/Product/ib520.html) - a Body Composition Analysis machine. Measures weight, lean body mass, body fat, intercellular water, extracellular water, total body water, body mass index, percent body fat, Awesome machine.

Anyways, here are a few of my numbers...

Weight - 185 lbs
Lean Body Mass - 161.4 lbs
Body Fat Mass - 23.3 lbs (12.7%)

Percent Body Fat - 12.7
Resting Basal Metabolic Rate (metabolism) - 1952 kcal, i.e. calories. - meaning sitting on my ass all day I burn 2000 calories. Sweet!

Last edited by mrrab; 08-04-10 at 05:13 PM.
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