Medical Edge: Running in the Heat

Posted at: 08/29/2013 7:33 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2013 7:39 PM
By: Kenny King

No amount of training prepared Kellee Moffitt for the temperatures that peaked 82 degrees at 8:30 in the morning. By high noon, Kellee was baking.
"About 35 feet to the finish line I collapsed."
Kellee's core temperature was 108 degrees. Dangerously high.
Mayo Clinic Dr. Walter Taylor staffs the medical tent at the 26.2 with Donna, the national marathon to finish breast cancer. He says runners with symptoms like Kellee's (high temps, confusion, passing out) likely have heat stroke.
"We try to reduce their temperature down to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, give the IV fluids and then ship them off to the emergency room," said Walter Taylor, M.D.
They also soaked Kellee in an ice bath to try to lower her dangerously high temperature.
Then, in addition to heat stroke, Kellee developed a condition called rhabdomyolysis. It can happen when there is major insult to your muscles.
They start to break down and release a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. This protein can damage the kidneys, and it can also block the conduits that produce urine. Plus, damaged muscles swell and become a reservoir for fluid, causing dehydration and further insult to the kidneys.
Treatment is to administer fluids to counteract dehydration and to help flush out the poisons. Kellee recovered.
"Basically all your muscles break down, so I was extremely sore."
After her stay in the hospital, it took about 12 weeks for her to feel normal again. She still runs.
"I run more for physical fitness than I do races."
But not marathons or not when the temperatures soar.