12 Jul How does Heat Stroke affect your brain? And, what can you do about it?
How does heat stroke affect your brain? And, what can you do about it?
There’s a heat wave engulfing the western United States, which will lead to a number of cases of heat stroke.
Body temperature usually hovers around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, regardless of the temperature outside. But if the body loses control for one reason or another the body temperature can climb. If core temperature reaches 104 degrees fahrenheit, that’s heatstroke.
Heat stroke can affect your brain; Altered mental state, bizarre behavior, confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma can all result from heatstroke.
A body temperature of 104 or above can have both direct and indirect effects on the brain.
The high temperature can kill cells directly. Proteins within the cell can change shape, which can cause cell death. Certain brain cells, like the purkinje cells of the cerebellum are the most susceptible to high temperature. The cerebellum is the part of your brain that controls coordination. So, one sign that heatstroke is occurring, may be loss of muscle control.
Less direct is that, at high temperatures, the blood brain barrier may become leaky. The blood brain barrier is something like a network of membranes that protect your brain from toxins floating around your bloodstream. If heat stroke causes the membrane to become leaky, inflammatory particles and ionic molecules can build up in the brain and cause harm to the sensitive brain cells.
Most indirectly: Heat stroke can affect the circulation, which can decrease blood flow to the brain.
What can you do to mitigate the ill effects caused by heat stroke on the brain?
First of all, cool down. But after you’ve followed your doctor’s instructions and your body temperature is approaching normal, you can alleviate some of the effects on the traumatized brain cells.
I would recommend drinking plenty of electrolyte balanced fluids and augmenting them with the juice of dark berries:
In particular, brain superfoods, cherry and blueberry:
Blueberries are rich in Polyphenols and flavonoids, which helps improve brain blood flow.
Tart cherry juice has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be of great benefit to the brain.