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Exercise and Fitness

Overheating and headaches during exercise

02/08/2005

Question:

Hi, I am postmenopausal and overweight and have been exercising vigorously for about a year. I have lost 40 pounds and have lowered my blood sugar level to normal and brought down my cholesterol reading almost to normal. My heart is in good shape. I have had a stress test. I take a beta and alpha blocker to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol medication. I also take amitripyline to treat a longstanding problem with fibromyalgia. I sweat profusely in class and certain routines cause me to feel very hot and I develop a severe headache. My face gets very red. I blacked out on one occasion but it only lasted for a few minutes. It is very difficult to cool off although I stop exercising and use ice packs on my chest and neck. I have asked my doctor about this but he is not concerned. I`m a little worried about the headaches and wonder if I`m dealing with hyperthermia. Can you give me some imput?

Answer:

Consulting your physician was very appropriate and he/she should be consulted again if the problem persists.  One cause of hyperthermia is dehydration.  Make sure that you are drinking enough fluid before, during, and after exercising. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends; 8 ounces of water 20 minutes before exercise, 3-6 ounces every 10-15 minutes during exercise, and 8-10 ounces after exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 2 cups of fluid 2 hours before exercise; during exercise, drink fluids at a rate matching perspiration loss.  This requires weighing oneself before and after exercise, and then consuming 2-3 cups of fluid for each pound of weight lost. It may be advisable to consult your physician again or your pharmacist about what effect your medication may be having on your symptoms.

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Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati