How Extreme Heat Can Kill and How You Can Stay Safe

How Extreme Heat Can Kill and How You Can Stay Safe

Claremont Colonic and Nutrient Resource Clinic

High temperatures are not just uncomfortable, they are bad for your health – and can even be deadly.

Of all the natural disasters, extreme heat is the No. 1 killer, studies show, killing more people than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

“What is most problematic about heat is that this is a sneaky climate issue because it kills many people, but it is not impressive like a hurricane or something. It’s just happening all the time, so it is sneaky,” said environmental epidemiologist Tarik Benmarhnia of the University of California, San Diego.

There’s been a 74% increase in deaths related to heat since 1980, a 2021 study found. With the ongoing climate crisis, high temperatures are expected to get worse, and heat waves will last longer, affecting parts of the country that aren’t used to them.

Most heat-related deaths and health problems are avoidable. Three of the most common conditions to watch out for are dehydration, heatstroke and heat exhaustion.


Your body needs water and other fluids to function. When you lose more fluid than you take in, you get dehydrated.

Mild or moderate dehydration is manageable by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs medical attention.

The problem is that your body doesn’t always let you know early enough that you need more water. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re behind on your fluid replacement. Older people often don’t feel thirsty until they are actually dehydrated.

Experts say that when you have to be out in the heat, it’s important to drink fluids even before you head out, or else you may not be able to catch up on what your body needs.

While you’re outside, particularly if working or exercising in the heat, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends drinking a cup of water (8 ounces) at least every 15 to 20 minutes. But don’t drink more than 48 ounces per hour, which can lower your sodium levels too much, causing confusion and other health problems.

You also want to stay hydrated after coming inside from the heat, drinking enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost through sweat.

Chronic dehydration can raise your risk for kidney stones and urinary tract infections, as well as longer-term problems.


The “most worrisome consequence” of high heat is heatstroke, said Dr. Scott Dresden, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University.

With heatstroke, the body can’t cool itself and regulate its temperature.

In normal temperatures, your body loses water through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom. But when humidity rises above 75%, sweating becomes ineffective. Our bodies can let off heat only when the outside temperature is lower than our internal body temperature, usually around 98.6 degrees.

If the body’s temperature rises quickly, its natural cooling mechanism – sweat – fails. A person’s temperature can rise to a dangerous 106 degrees or higher within just 10 or 15 minutes. This can lead to disability or even death.

Older adults, people taking certain medications like beta blockers and antidepressants, and kids can all have a harder time with heat regulation. Alcohol can also make it hard for the body to regulate its temperature, as can being dehydrated or being overdressed for the heat.

If you notice that someone is confused, has a flush to their skin, seems to be breathing quickly or complains of a headache, move to the shade or into air-conditioning. Cool them with cool water, icepacks or wet towels around their neck, head, armpits and groin. And get medical help as soon as possible.

A person who has heatstroke may sweat profusely or not at all. They can become confused or pass out, and they could have a seizure. Left untreated, heatstroke can quickly damage the brain. It can cause the heart to beat dangerously fast and the body to shut down.

You can lower your chance of heatstroke by wearing loose-fitting, lightweight clothing. Wear sunscreen, too: People who are sunburned have less of an ability to regulate their body temperature. Drink lots of water. Try to avoid working outside or exercising during the hottest parts of the day. Let yourself acclimate to high temperatures before you start running marathons or doing any other extreme outdoor exercise.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when the body loses too much water or salt through excessive sweating. Typically, this can happen when you’re exposed to high temperatures combined with high humidity or if you are involved in strenuous physical activity, like running or playing football.

Heat-related illness is the leading cause of death and disability among US high school athletes, according to the CDC. But it can be a problem for anyone taking part in everyday activities like mowing the lawn or going for a walk.

Signs of heat exhaustion can include cool or moist skin with goosebumps, heavy sweating, feeling faint or tired, an unusual heart rate, muscle cramps, a headache or nausea.

If you think you or someone else has heat exhaustion, get some rest in the shade or in the air-conditioning. Drink cool water. If symptoms don’t improve, get medical attention.

At that point, the treatment isn’t all that pleasant. “We typically use ice baths in our emergency room,” Dresden said. “We’ll do cold-water immersion.”

If that isn’t available, a hospital may try wet sheets and a large fan.

How to stay healthy in the heat

Extreme high temperatures can be linked to at least 17 causes of death, most of them related to heart and breathing issues but also including suicide, drowning and homicide.

Studies have shown that exposure to extreme heat can contribute to mental health issues, problems for pregnant women and poor birth outcomes.

Even if you aren’t working or exercising outdoors, be careful in extreme temperatures.

Dr. Stephanie Lareau, an emergency room physician in Rocky Mount, Virginia, said it’s important to keep an eye not just on the temperature but on the heat index. That takes into account humidity, and that can matter more for heat-related illness.

When planning activities, try to keep them out of the heat, especially if you’ve got young kids or the elderly in your social circle, since they don’t handle the heat as well.

“Make sure everyone is drinking plenty of fluids,” Lareau said. “You don’t have to take in copious amounts of water, but drink a little bit before you’re thirsty – and especially when you are thirsty. Those things are really important. Heat illnesses are totally avoidable with the right approach.”

Contributor: Jen Christensen, CNN Health /p>

Elle Sez Series-Know Your Body: The Circulatory System

Elle Sez Series-Know Your Body: The Circulatory System

Claremont Colonic and Nutrient Resource Clinic

The circulatory system (cardiovascular system) pumps blood from the heart to the lungs to get oxygen. The heart then sends oxygenated blood through arteries to the rest of the body. The veins carry oxygen-poor blood back to the heart to start the circulation process over. Your circulatory system is critical to healthy organs, muscles and tissues.


What is the circulatory system?

Your heart and blood vessels make up the circulatory system. The main function of the circulatory system is to provide oxygen, nutrients and hormones to muscles, tissues and organs throughout your body. Another part of the circulatory system is to remove waste from cells and organs so your body can dispose of it.

Your heart pumps blood to the body through a network of arteries and veins (blood vessels). Your circulatory system can also be defined as your cardiovascular system. Cardio means heart, and vascular refers to blood vessels.

Anatomy of the human circulatory system.

The circulatory system provides blood to all the body’s tissues so they can function.

What does the circulatory system do?

The circulatory system’s function is to move blood throughout the body. This blood circulation keeps organs, muscles and tissues healthy and working to keep you alive.

The circulatory system also helps your body get rid of waste products. This waste includes:

  • Carbon dioxide from respiration (breathing).
  • Other chemical byproducts from your organs.
  • Waste from things you eat and drink.
How does the circulatory system work?

Your circulatory system functions with the help of blood vessels that include arteries, veins and capillaries. These blood vessels work with your heart and lungs to continuously circulate blood through your body. Here’s how:

1. The heart’s bottom right pumping chamber (right ventricle) sends blood that’s low in oxygen (oxygen-poor blood) to the lungs. Blood travels through the pulmonary trunk (the main pulmonary artery).
2. Blood cells pick up oxygen in the lungs.
3. Pulmonary veins carry the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart’s left atrium (upper heart chamber).
4. The left atrium sends the oxygenated blood into the left ventricle (lower chamber). This muscular part of the heart pumps blood out to the body through the arteries.
5. As it moves through your body and organs, blood collects and drops off nutrients, hormones and waste products.
6. The veins carry deoxygenated blood and carbon dioxide back to the heart, which sends the blood to the lungs.
7. Your lungs get rid of the carbon dioxide when you exhale.

What are the circulatory system parts?

The parts of your circulatory system are your:

  • Heart, a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout your body.
  • Blood vessels, which include your arteries, veins and capillaries.
  • Blood, made up of red and white blood cells, plasma and platelets.

What are the circulatory system circuits?

Your circulatory system has three circuits. Blood circulates through your heart and through these circuits in a continuous pattern:

  • The pulmonary circuit: This circuit carries blood without oxygen from the heart to the lungs. The pulmonary veins return oxygenated blood to the heart.
  • The systemic circuit: In this circuit, blood with oxygen, nutrients and hormones travels from the heart to the rest of the body. In the veins, the blood picks up waste products as the body uses up the oxygen, nutrients and hormones.
  • The coronary circuit: Coronary refers to your heart’s arteries. This circuit provides the heart muscle with oxygenated blood. The coronary circuit then returns oxygen-poor blood to the heart’s right upper chamber (atrium) to send to the lungs for oxygen.

What are the types of blood vessels?

There are three main types of blood vessels:

  • Arteries: Arteries are thin, muscular tubes that carry oxygenated blood away from the heart and to every part of your body. The aorta is the body’s largest artery. It starts at the heart and travels up the chest (ascending aorta) and then down into the stomach (descending aorta). The coronary arteries branch off the aorta, which then branch into smaller arteries (arterioles) as they get farther from your heart.
  • Veins: These blood vessels return oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. Veins start small (venules) and get larger as they approach your heart. Two central veins deliver blood to your heart. The superior vena cava carries blood from the upper body (head and arms) to the heart. The inferior vena cava brings blood up from the lower body (stomach, pelvis and legs) to the heart. Veins in the legs have valves to keep blood from flowing backward.
  • Capillaries: These blood vessels connect very small arteries (arterioles) and veins (venules). Capillaries have thin walls that allow oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and waste products to pass into and out of cells.
What are the circulatory system organs?

Your heart is the only circulatory system organ. Blood goes from the heart to the lungs to get oxygen. The lungs are part of the respiratory system. Your heart then pumps oxygenated blood through arteries to the rest of the body.

Conditions and Disorders
What conditions affect the circulatory system?

Many conditions can affect the health of your circulatory system, including:

  • Aneurysms: Aneurysms occur when an artery wall weakens and enlarges. The weak spot can bulge as blood moves through the artery. The weak spot may tear, causing a life-threatening rupture. Aneurysms can affect any artery, but aortic aneurysms, abdominal aortic aneurysms and brain aneurysms are the most common.
  • High blood pressure: Your arteries work hard to circulate blood throughout the body. When the pressure (force of blood against the blood vessel walls) gets too high, you develop high blood pressure. When the arteries become less elastic (stretchy), less blood and oxygen reaches organs like the heart. High blood pressure puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes.
  • Plaque deposits: High cholesterol and diabetes can lead to fat and other substances collecting in the blood. These substances form deposits called plaques on artery walls. This condition is atherosclerosis, or narrowed or hardened arteries. Atherosclerosis increases the risk of blood clots and strokes, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease (and other artery diseases), heart attacks and kidney disease.
  • Venous disease: Venous diseases tend to affect veins in the lower body. Problems like chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins occur when blood can’t flow back to the heart and pools in leg veins. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in the legs, can lead to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

How can I prevent circulatory system problems?

These steps can protect the health of your circulatory system:

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet rich in vegetables and fiber and low in saturated fats and processed foods. Consider a Mediterranean-style diets or plant-based diet, as they appear to be the most heart healthy.
  • Find healthy ways to ease stress.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Get help to quit smoking.

Frequently Asked Questions
How big is the circulatory system?

Your body has more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels that circulate about 1.5 gallons of blood every day.

What is red blood and blue blood? All blood is red. Hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein in red blood cells, mixes with oxygen to give blood its red color. Blood that’s rich in oxygen is known as red blood.

Your veins carry oxygen-poor blood. This is sometimes called blue blood because your veins can look blue underneath the skin. The blood is actually red, but the low oxygen levels give veins a bluish hue.

Do arteries always carry oxygenated blood?

For the most part, yes. The exceptions are pulmonary arteries and veins. Pulmonary arteries carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs. Pulmonary veins return the oxygenated blood to the heart.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Your circulatory system plays a critical role in keeping you alive. Blood vessels carry blood to the lungs for oxygen. Then your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood through arteries to the rest of the body. Your veins help your body get rid of waste products. Conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis can affect the health of your circulatory system. If you have one of these conditions, talk to your healthcare provider about steps you can take to protect your cardiovascular health.


Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet

Plant-Based Diet vs. Vegan Diet

Claremont Colonic Newsletter

All vegan diets are plant-based, but not all plant-based diets are vegan.

Though humans have evolved to eat a wide variety of foods, plants may be our best bet when trying to eat for good health. Avoiding excessive amounts of animal proteins, dairy and other foods derived from animals have been consistently shown to offer health benefits. Adopting a plant-based diet, or a vegan diet in particular, are two ways you might be able to make health gains over a standard American diet that features a lot more meat.

Plant-Based Diet Overview

Eating a plant-based diet means that you’re using plants for fuel, typically as close to their original source as possible. Think whole foods and lots of veggies. Plant-based diets have gained many followers and a lot of support from doctors and dietitians over the years as a very healthy way of eating.

But not everyone agrees on the exact definition of what a plant-based diet is. While some say it can include a little bit of food that comes from animal sources, Dianne Wenz, the New Jersey-based author of “The Truly Healthy Vegan Cookbook” and a certified holistic health coach, vegan lifestyle coach and plant-based chef, says that to truly be plant-based, a diet must be “free of any animal products, including meat, eggs and dairy. ‘Plant-based’ usually refers to an animal-free diet, without the lifestyle part.”

Often, she says, “people follow a plant-based diet for the health benefits, so they tend to eat whole foods, like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans and nuts. Some people also avoid processed foods, as well as ingredients such as oil, sugar and salt.”

Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist and author of “Get Off Your Acid: 7 Steps in 7 Days to Lose Weight, Fight Inflammation, and Reclaim Your Health and Energy,” says that there’s a bit more flexibility to the definition of “plant-based” in his interpretation. Though he follows a plant-based diet and follows a vegan diet most of the time, he says he also eats fish. “Some people on plant-based diets consume animal protein, and the plant-based diet gives you that leniency.” He says the idea is that anything can be on the diet, in moderation, but that it prioritizes plant-based foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes and other non-animal food sources.

Vegan Diet Overview

The vegan diet is naturally plant-based, too, given that it excludes all foods derived from animals. But it goes a step further, says Julie Barrette, a dietitian at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California. “Vegans distinguish themselves by avoiding even gelatin products, honey and abstaining from clothing made out of fur, wool and leather as well as toiletries and beauty products that contain animal substances and are tested on animals.” Feathers and silk are also on the prohibited list for vegans because they are derived from animals.

This is the lifestyle part Wenz mentions above, and for many vegans, this is an important moral distinction between them and people who do occasionally eat meat or otherwise follow a plant-based diet but aren’t strictly vegan. Many vegans opt to avoid using any animal products because they are opposed to subjugating animals in any way.

What’s the Difference?

Essentially, “they’re one and the same,” when you’re talking about plant-based diets versus vegan diets, Gioffre says. The distinction comes in that all vegan diets are plant-based diets, but not all plant-based diets are vegan. “Vegan is the ultimate plant-based diet,” he adds. Following a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always exclude meat, dairy, eggs or other foods derived from animal sources, but it means these items are included in very limited quantities.

Shelley Wood, a clinical dietitian with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, says that another distinction can be drawn along food quality lines. Vegan diets may “be laden with processed ‘junk’ food,” such as French fries, soda and candy. “You could base your diet completely on Fritos, potato chips, Ritz crackers and Cracker Jack and still be vegan,” she says, noting that this isn’t a good way to maintain optimal health.

On the flip side, “packaged or processed foods are very limited in a plant-based diet because the foods consumed are in as natural a state as possible, retaining all or most of their nutritional properties,” Wood says. “A plant-based diet is centered around all fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as brown rice and rolled oats, abundant beans and other plant-based protein sources like tofu, and raw and unsalted nuts and seeds. Both would be considered vegan, but you can take all of these whole, plant-based foods and create beautiful, nourishing dishes that would be miles healthier than a vegan diet filled with junk food.”

Health Benefits

“Since plant foods are loaded with nutrients, they can reduce inflammation in the body,” Wenz says, and “there have been countless studies that show the benefits of following a diet that’s free from animal products can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, such heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.”

Wood says that a diet centered around whole, unprocessed foods offers “abundant fiber, vitamins and minerals and protein, as long as calorie intake is adequate. With a well-balanced, varied, colorful plant-based or vegan diet you can improve your overall health, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.”

In addition, she says that many people who switch from a standard American diet that contains a lot of meat, dairy and processed foods will feel quite different when they begin following a plant-based approach. “People who switch to a primarily plant-based diet experience increased energy, improved sleep and mood and overall better health.”

Health Risks

“With any diet that excludes whole food groups like meat or milk, careful planning is key,” Barrette notes. “Both of these food groups are high in protein. Protein contains essential amino acids, the building blocks that are absolutely critical for healthy functioning bodies. While plant foods do have protein, keep in mind that for the healthy male 19 years or older, he would need 56 grams of protein per day, based on a 70-kilogram (154.3 pound) male. A woman 19 years or older would need at least 46 grams of protein per day, based on a 58-kilogram (123.5 pound) female.

Wenz says it’s very difficult to actually become deficient in calcium or protein, but that B12 deficiencies can occur “because it’s a vitamin that’s not found in the plant world. It’s important to supplement with it, because a B12 deficiency can lead to pernicious anemia.”

The key is to plan what you eat to avoid deficiencies. Without this careful planning, “increased health risks or exacerbation of medical conditions associated with deficient intakes of these nutrients may occur,” Barrette says. Specifically, infants or children on a vegan diet could have poor growth and development, and in adults, neurological disorders could be developing in otherwise healthy people, she says.

Eating a wide variety of foods is also important, Wood says, as this will provide a range of nutrients and minerals. She recommends adding a B12 supplement. “It’s a good idea to monitor your vitamin B12 status, regardless of your diet, and supplement if needed as a deficiency in this vitamin can cause irreversible damage.”

Wenz also notes that it’s not always easy to follow a vegan or plant-based diet. “Eating meat-free can sometimes cause social problems, especially when it comes to eating out. A lot of restaurants are coming around to the fact that more and more people are eschewing meat, though, so there has been an increase in plant-based offerings on menus. It can also cause problems with family and friends who aren’t on board with this way of eating when it comes to social gatherings and holidays.”


Barrette notes that these diets “don’t have to have a negative impact on your wallet. The expense is based on consumer preference to purchase only organic products.” You don’t necessarily have to select the more expensive organic ingredients to follow a vegan or plant-based diet. Conventionally produced foods work fine, too.

And many of these plant-based items are cheaper than animal-based products. “Many people think that eating vegan and plant-based is more expensive than an omnivore diet,” Wenz says, “but a bag of dried beans is much less expensive than a couple of steaks. Whole food, plant-based ingredients like grains, beans and vegetables aren’t very costly at all.”

That said, if your vegan diet relies on vegan meats and dairy-free cheeses, “those can be a bit pricey, though,” Wenz adds.

Weight Management

Either a plant-based diet or vegan diet could contribute to weight gain or loss – it all depends on how much you’re eating and the quality of the foods. “Any way of eating can contribute to weight gain in excess,” Wood says. “Although a plant-based diet is very satisfying and filling, you can still overconsume calories and gain weight.” For example, “almond butter is a great source of healthy fat but is calorically dense. Eating five spoonfuls of this a day can pack on pounds.”

Which One Is Better?

According to U.S. News’ 2020 Best Diets rankings, the vegan diet ranked 17th overall and ninth out of 12 diets analyzed in the plant-based diet category. The Mediterranean diet, a plant-based approach that includes fish and some lean meat, was the top pick in that category and the top choice overall. Its focus on whole foods makes it a top choice year after year.

Because most dietitians and doctors espouse the idea of moderation and flexibility, adopting a plant-based diet may be the better option to going fully vegan, which can be a restrictive means of eating. “Generally, a plant-based diet is thought of as healthier, because those who follow it usually do so for health reasons,” Wenz says. This means “they avoid processed foods. People on a vegan diet sometimes eat things like meat-free meats and dairy-free cheeses, which aren’t the healthiest of foods. But a vegan diet can be just as healthy as a plant-based one, depending on what types of foods the person decided to consume.”

Barrette notes that finding the right diet for you is an individual quest. “A registered dietitian’s job is to recommend a diet for a patient only after considering a patient’s sex, age, health history, medications, weight, etc., and individualizing a diet with that patient in mind. This means that a diet recommended to a patient may be different from that recommended to the general population.” However, she continues, “from a public health perspective, many health organizations recommend moving toward more of a plant-based diet.”

For her part, Wenz says that both can be an option, too. “I usually recommend a combination of both. A lot of my clients come to me because they want to go vegan, and they want to make sure they’re doing it in a healthful way. I recommend they consume lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, with the occasional treat of a veggie burger or dairy-free cupcake.”

Before you change your diet, Wood recommends getting some help. “It’s important to get set up with a registered dietitian initially to be sure that you are on track with all of your nutritional needs. There are some people who would need certain restrictions, for example those with renal disease, so it would be good to check in with your doctor and a dietitian first.”

Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, ramp up slowly rather than changing everything all at once, Wood says. “I suggest starting with 75% plant-based and working up to at least 90% for optimal health. Usually, when a patient gets above 90% for a period of time, the results are convincing enough to go all the way to 100%.”

Contributor: Elaine K. Howley- U.S. News & World Report

Drug Costs Lead Millions in the US to Not Take Medications as Prescribed, According to CDC.

Drug Costs Lead Millions in the US to Not Take Medications as Prescribed, According to CDC.

Claremont Colonic Center
More than a third of adults in the US take at least three prescription medications and many are rationing them, according to a new CDC report.
Millions of adults in the United States are not taking their medications as prescribed because of costs, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Most adults between the ages of 18 and 64 took at least one prescription medication in 2021. But more than 8% of them – about 9.2 million people – said they tried to save money by skipping doses, taking less than prescribed or delaying a prescription fill, according to the CDC data.

A person fastens a Becton Dickinson And Co. (BD) needle on a Novo Nordisk Inc. NovoLog brand insulin pen in a posed photograph in New York on Friday, April 5, 2019.

Although average drug costs did not increase in 2021, the number of prescriptions did, and that raised spending. More than a third of adults took at least three prescription medications in 2021, according to the CDC. And data from health analytics company IQVIA shows that total prescription drug costs rose nearly 5% from 2020 to 2021, to $63 billion.

Delaying or adjusting medications can lead to more serious health implications and raises the potential for even higher costs if additional treatments become necessary.

Earlier research found that about 1 in 6 people with diabetes were rationing their insulin.

“The main takeaway is that 1.3 million people rationed insulin the United States, one of the richest countries in the world,” said Dr. Adam Gaffney, a pulmonologist and critical care doctor at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance and lead author of that study. “This is a lifesaving drug. Rationing insulin can have life-threatening consequences.”

The new CDC data shows vast disparities in how often drug costs cause people to not take their medications as prescribed.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of adults without health care coverage did not take their medications as prescribed to reduce costs, compared with less than 7% of people who had private insurance.

Those living with disabilities were also about three times more like than those without disabilities to ration their medications, as were people with fair or poor health compared with those with good health.

Women were also more likely to than men, according to the CDC data.

For this report, researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics analyzed responses to the 2021 National Health Interview Survey, a representative survey of US households.

Contributor: Deidre McPhillips, CNN Health